The Deadly Industry, NHTSA and NTSB “Autopilot” Name Change Diversion

First . . .Yes, I support forcing Tesla to change its “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” names. They are misleading, provide false confidence and contribute to crashes, injuries, and deaths. As a matter of fact, I believe their program should be shut down. Or, at the very least, a moratorium put in place while NHTSA investigates. After all there is plenty of information out there to do so. And it would be easy to use a Tesla car to duplicate enough scenarios to do so as well.

Now that we have that out of the way. Changing the names is the LEAST of the problems. Why are NHTSA, the NTSB, the press, the industry, and Tesla’s competitors focused on that? Because the rest of the industry has the same basic problems and root causes Tesla has and they want to divert your attention from that. The real issues are detecting stationary and crossing objects (Which impact AEB as well.) and the use of human Guinea pigs for development and testing. Yes, Tesla is more egregious for several reasons which includes a horrible sensor design, the capability naming, crash inducing 20 second or longer driver monitoring alarm time and they do not work on progressive ODDs. However, in the end they all use the same basic untenable development process which relies on the needless use of human Guinea pigs. Which will have to be sacrificed in many crash cases so the scenarios can be learned. (DM does not resolve many of these time critical scenarios.) To explain these issues further as well as outline the remedy please see an article I wrote a short while back on this.

Has NHTSA backed itself and the Autonomous Vehicle Industry into a corner?


At the end of the day the industry wants to stop Tesla from killing more people now so it can kill people on its own terms and schedule later. In that time the others can cash in on SPACs, IPOs or find some miracle general learning process that resolves not just the safety issues with the current approach but the time and cost issues as well. Given this I would suggest the industry, which again includes competitors, the press, NHTSA and the NTSB will now share in the responsibility for the next Tesla crash, injury and death as Tesla changing its names or even bringing DM alarm times in will hardly make a dent in the debacle or body count.

(Two key parts of the solution are the use of simulation, specifically from aerospace and DoD, and its part in a due diligence engineering progression. Companies should have to prove why use of the real-world is needed, especially for “safety driving”. Exactly what cannot be simulated? Tell me why every one of the Tesla crashes had to be experienced in the real-world vs simulation? A key to this approach is USDOT VOICES. They support this entire approach. Why does NHTSA and USDOT bury them? Let’s consider that rhetorical.)

More detail here. Including how to do this right.

NTSB Chair falsely states “We have done all we can do” with regard to Tesla’s “Autopilot” debacle


NHTSA should impose an immediate “Autopilot” moratorium and report initial investigation findings in 30 days


The Autonomous Vehicle Industry can be Saved by doing the Opposite of what is being done now to create this technology


SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Magazine — Simulation’s Next Generation (featuring Dactle)


How the failed Iranian hostage rescue in 1980 can save the Autonomous Vehicle industry


USDOT introduces VOICES Proof of Concept for Autonomous Vehicle Industry-A Paradigm Shift?


Tesla “autopilot” development effort needs to be stopped and people held accountable


My name is Michael DeKort — I am a former system engineer, engineering and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, the Aegis Weapon System, and on C4ISR for DHS.

Industry Participation — Air and Ground

- Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force

- Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force

- Member UNECE WP.29 SG2 Virtual Testing

- Stakeholder USDOT VOICES (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety)

- Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation

- Member Teleoperation Consortium

- Member CIVATAglobal — Civic Air Transport Association

- Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines

- Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee

- Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts

Systems Engineer, Engineering/Program Management -- DoD/Aerospace/IT - Autonomous Systems Air & Ground, FAA Simulation, UAM, V2X, C4ISR, Cybersecurity

Systems Engineer, Engineering/Program Management -- DoD/Aerospace/IT - Autonomous Systems Air & Ground, FAA Simulation, UAM, V2X, C4ISR, Cybersecurity