The same folks who now rail against Tesla thought they were a shining star and don’t know or care they are only the worst of the bunch

Five years ago, I stated I was against the development and test method being used by the industry for developing and testing autonomous vehicles was untenable from a safety, time and cost perspective. One can simply not spend the time, money, or lives required to get anywhere near driverless or SAE L4. And that the solution was simulation, but the current technology and modeling approaches were from the gaming industry not DoD, and as such were not good enough. During this time the press, “safety experts”, advocates, the industry as a whole, government officials etc all lauded Tesla as a shining example, a leader in the space would would get to full autonomy first and at any moment. Now these same folks are all against Tesla. Trying to get their “Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving” off the road. Here is an article that sums that up. (I chose Electrek because they can be one of Tesla’s biggest pumpers, have also been fairly objective in the past year or so about the system’s performance but still can’t manage to put ethics and common sense above the pump.)

Tesla Full Self-Driving effort faces mounting pressure from many fronts

Since I never wanted this development approach to be used, especially human Guinea pigs, I clearly agree these systems should be pulled from the road. (I explain more in my articles below.) And there certainly should be a moratorium while NHTSA dithers over investigating a plethora of repeat scenarios, many of why have injured or killed people. (Why is no one but me saying this?) However, it seems to me NHTSA has a bit of a dilemma in front of it. Something they cannot avoid like the rest. That being legal hair splitting. Exactly what is NHTSA going to so that is effective and only involves Tesla, especially from a technical, engineering approach and due diligence point of view? Yes, the use of the names is low hanging fruit. But, will that make a dent in the problem or just make folks feel good? And now that Waymo, Argo, Cruise, Motional, Baidu etc say they are driverless with not only zero proof several have had episodes and whistleblowers point out the opposite. (Funny how the “autonowashing” folks only have an issue with Tesla doing it.) What if Tesla sues NHTSA for unfair trade practices but saying there is no fundamental difference between any of the companies? Even if NHTSA chooses to add Tesla no longer having a radar that would not be very effective given most companies use poor fidelity radars that have similar crossing and stationary object issues. With very few using imaging radar or enhancing LiDAR to create object tracks.

With respect to the argument that the other AV makers have a much better safety record than Tesla. That is only incidentally accurate, is a matter of scale and will not last. Most of the other companies are avoiding experiencing many crash scenarios through various means. A practice that cannot last forever if they want to learn those scenarios. (A big “if” I suppose. Maybe lying and saying you did is more lucrative?) Those various means of avoiding crashes include having far fewer vehicles in the public domain, better sensor systems, better driver monitoring and shorter alarm periods, trained “safety drivers” and NDAs with riders. That last one prohibits the massive exposure Tesla gets from drivers etc posting videos. And none of them disclose when that “safety driver” avoided a crash in the real-world or simulation.

All that is happening now is hype, the manipulation of the public, incremental epiphanies, selective outrage and hypocritical hair splitting. The press and industry know the fundamental development process and use of human Guinea pigs is the same. But they want to protect the rest of the industry from being ruined by Tesla until they themselves suffer most of the same fate. During that time, they can play the odds, continue to mislead the world, get more investment, and hope for a miracle vs saying they were wrong and shifting their development approach and simulation. The public and government will be stuck with being manipulated by the industry and press until enough tragedies occur with other companies to trip that trigger. If you look at how we operate in the US regarding safety and profiteering, this is standard ops. Just look at the history of the aircraft industry. (Something the FAA may itself not have learned if you look at eVTOL aircraft and autonomy development now.)

More on my POV here. Including how to do this right.

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering magazine editor calling me “prescient” regarding my position on Tesla and the overall driverless vehicle industry’s untenable development and testing approach — (Page 2)

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


Tesla upgrading cameras and putting radar back? I thought the system was enough to get to L4? This is admitting incompetence and negligence, especially to NHTSA


NHTSA and Tesla back themselves into a mutual corner-With Tesla giving NHTSA a way to ding it without exposing the industry


Tesla, not the “safety driver”, should likely be charged in the first “Full Self Driving” manslaughter case


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


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


My name is Michael DeKort — I am Navy veteran (ASW C4ISR) and a former system engineer, engineering, and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, a software project manager on an Aegis Weapon System baseline, and a C4ISR systems engineer for DoD/DHS and the US State Department (counterterrorism). And a Senior Advisory Technical Project Manager for FTI to the Army AI Task Force at CMU NREC (National Robotics Engineering Center)

Autonomous 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-35, Modeling, Simulation, Training for Emerging AV Tech

- 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

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering magazine editor calling me “prescient” regarding my position on Tesla and the overall driverless vehicle industry’s untenable development and testing approach — (Page 2)

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



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Michael DeKort

Michael DeKort

Non-Tribal Truth Seeker-IEEE Barus Ethics Award/9–11 Whistleblower-Aerospace/DoD Systems Engineer/Member SAE Autonomy and eVTOL development V&V & Simulation