Report: Tesla is bleeding talent from its Autopilot division

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by hmscott, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Convel

    Convel Notebook Evangelist

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    Tesla's autonomous system is impressive, but I definitely agree that the way it's marketed is reckless. People don't end up viewing "Autopilot" as a driver aid, like they do when they hear "adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist" (not saying they're exactly alike). Instead, they end up thinking that these cool, futuristic cars are unlike anything else in the market and can drive themselves, allowing you to put your focus elsewhere. I'm not overly impressed by Elon Musk's focus while driving with that TV host either, constantly taking his eyes off the road to prod that giant touchscreen of his. Way to set an example of how to use Autopilot. Might as well have been texting.

    That said, it does sound to me like the driver was at fault. The question I'm asking is if he, and others, might've been more responsible if the automaker had communicated the usage of their autonomous feature more effectively, instead of just cashing in on hype.
    When there's not a lot going on, such as when you're driving on a highway, having the car perform most of the adjustments means you have an easier time making yourself comfortable. While you may have to react to things the car's sensors could have missed, the car can also react to things you could've missed. Also, it's neat to get a taste of the future. Level 5 will have a far higher value.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  2. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  3. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    "Buy Elon Musk a couch" raises $5K+ after "CBS This Morning" report
    Published on Apr 18, 2018
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed us the office couch he sleeps on during an interview last week at his Silicon Valley Model 3 car factory. After seeing our report, a California man started a GoFundMe page called "Buy Elon Musk a couch." In one day, the campaign raised more than $5,000 dollars, exceeding its goal.


    Nah, Tesla isn't a cult, couldn't be. ;)

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk offers rare look inside Model 3 factory


    Published on Apr 13, 2018
    The pioneering electric car company Tesla has suffered a series of very public challenges since the beginning of this year. Its high-profile CEO Elon Musk called this a period of "production hell." Most of the troubles revolve around the company's Model 3 sedan, its first mid-priced, mass-produced electric car. Musk takes "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King on a tour of his Silicon Valley factory. It is the first time network cameras were allowed inside the production line.

    Tesla Suspends Production of the Model 3 Again

    Published on Apr 17, 2018
    Apr.17 -- Bloomberg’s Ed Hammond discusses problems with production of Tesla's Model 3. He speaks with Alix Steel and David Westin on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."
     
  4. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Tesla’s VP of Autopilot and chip guru Jim Keller is leaving, another former Apple chip designer is tapped
    Fred Lambert, Apr. 25th 2018 10:23 pm ET
    https://electrek.co/2018/04/25/tesla-autopilot-jim-keller-leaving-chip/

    "Legendary chip architect Jim Keller has seen an increasingly important role at Tesla since he joined the company in 2015.

    He most recently took over the responsibilities of the Autopilot program after Chris Lattner left and Tesla went in another direction by hiring AI expert Andrej Karpathy to oversee computer vision and AI.

    Now we learn that today was Keller’s last day at Tesla as the Autopilot team sees yet another leadership change.

    We first exclusively reported on Tesla quietly hiring Keller from AMD back in 2016 and we were fairly excited by the implications of Tesla hiring such an important chip architect.

    At the time, we speculated that Tesla could be looking into making its own silicon at some point – speculation that was further reinforced after Keller’s hiring was followed by a team of chip architects and executives from AMD also joining Tesla.

    Finally, our suspicions were confirmed two years later when Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla is working on its own new AI chip.

    Keller was leading the program, along with several other hardware responsibilities at the automaker.

    We learned today that he was leaving to go back to solely developing microprocessors at a chipmaker – Intel, which has its own autonomous driving business after picking up MobileEye. .

    Tesla confirmed the news and a spokesperson commented:

    “Today is Jim Keller’s last day at Tesla, where he has overseen low-voltage hardware, Autopilot software and infotainment. Prior to joining Tesla, Jim’s core passion was microprocessor engineering and he’s now joining a company where he’ll be able to once again focus on this exclusively. We appreciate his contributions to Tesla and wish him the best.”

    A source says that the chipmaker in question is Intel. Keller previously worked at AMD and Apple’s PA Semi.

    Tesla confirmed that Pete Bannon, a former colleague of Keller at Apple’s PA Semi who was among many chip architects that Tesla hired after Keller, is taking over the Autopilot hardware team. He was responsible for later Apple processors ranging from A5-A9.

    Meanwhile Karpathy’s responsibilities will extend to include all Autopilot software.

    A spokesperson elaborated:

    “Pete Bannon, who has been at Tesla for over two years, will now lead Autopilot hardware. Pete has been building processors since 1984, co-led the development of Apple’s A5 chip and then continued development through to the A9 chip. Prior to Apple, Pete was the VP of architecture and verification at PA Semi. Andrej Karpathy, Tesla’s Director of AI and Autopilot Vision, will now have overall responsibility for all Autopilot software.”

    It’s the third major leadership shakeup with the Autopilot team in just over a year since before Lattner being replaced by Keller and Karpathy, Autopilot Program Director Sterling Anderson left to form his own self-driving car company.

    While Keller is leaving, Tesla is reiterating its commitment to developing its own chips with the team that Keller helped put together.

    A Tesla spokesperson added:

    “Tesla is deeply committed to developing the most advanced silicon in the world and we plan to dramatically increase our investment in that area while building on the world-class leadership team we have in place.”

    We previously reported on the team back in 2016 and Tesla has been adding engineers from other companies, like Nvidia, since then.

    Electrek’s Take

    That’s definitely a big loss for Tesla since Keller is one of the most respected chip architects in the business today.

    But with this said, he probably laid some good foundations for the development of Tesla’s own AI chip and he also helped build a strong team of chip architects and other microprocessors experts to do the work.

    Case in point: Pete Bannon, who also has some incredible credentials in the world of chip architectures and he is now taking over at Tesla.

    And if you were excited about to possibility of silicon designed by Keller eventually powering your future self-driving car, it still might be a possibility considering Intel has been making some major investments to be to go to chipmaker for self-driving technology."
     
  5. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Jim Chanos On Tesla’s ‘Stunning’ Accelerated Rate Of Executive Departures | CNBC
    CNBC
    Published on Apr 26, 2018
    Short-seller Jim Chanos, Kynikos Associates founder, shares his thoughts on Tesla, Elon Musk and the mass exodus of the company's top executives.
     
  6. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    A nice view of what it's like to use both systems, with some examples of problems the systems have during daily use:

    Tesla Autopilot vs. Cadillac Super Cruise | Comparison Test | Edmunds
    Edmunds
    Published on Apr 8, 2018
    Tesla's Autopilot and Cadillac's Super Cruise are the most capable driver assistance systems available and provide a glimpse toward the future of self-driving cars. These semi-autonomous driving modes aren't the same, though. And while Tesla's Autopilot has been deployed on the Model S, Model X and Model 3, Super Cruise debuted this year and is available only on the Cadillac CT6. We drove an Autopilot-equipped Tesla Model 3 and a Super Cruise-equipped Cadillac CT6 to explore the system's similarities and differences in the real world.
     
  7. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Self-driving cars’ shortcomings revealed in DMV reports
    By ETHAN BARON, May 1, 2018 at 3:46 pm
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/01/self-driving-cars-shortcomings-revealed-in-dmv-reports/

    "A demand from the California DMV of eight companies testing self-driving cars has highlighted a number of areas where the technology falls short of being safe to operate with no human backup.

    All companies testing autonomous vehicles on the state’s public roads must provide annual reports to the DMV about “disengagements” that occur when a human backup driver has to take over from the robotic system. The DMV told eight companies with testing permits to provide clarification about their reports. More than 50 companies have permits to test autonomous vehicles with backup drivers on California roads but not all of them have deployed vehicles.

    It turns out that a number of the issues reported are shared across technology from different companies. Some of the problems had to do with the way the cars sense the environment around them. Others had to do with how the vehicles maneuver on the road. And some had to do with what you might expect from systems made up of networked gadgets: hardware and software failures.

    The disengagement reports themselves identify other problems some self-driving vehicles struggle with, for example heavy pedestrian traffic or poorly marked lanes.

    In describing the events that caused their backup drivers to take the controls, the companies have provided a new window into the road-worthiness — or not — of their cars and systems.

    Baidu, a Chinese internet-search giant, reported a case in which driver had to take over because of a faulty steering maneuver by the robot car; several cases of “mis-classified” traffic lights; a failure to yield for cross traffic; delayed braking behind a car that cut quickly in front; drifting out of a lane; and delayed perception of a pedestrian walking into the street.

    Automotive supplier Delphi noted that its autonomous system “encountered difficulty identifying a particular traffic light,” and also said a GPS problem meant a vehicle didn’t know where it was. Delphi’s system also had issues with unexpected — usually illegal — behavior by other drivers, the company said in its report to the DMV.

    Drive.ai — which makes artificial intelligence software for self-driving vehicles — cited reasons for disengagement that included the swerving of a vehicle within a lane and “jerky or uncomfortable braking.” The firm also noted a “localization error” that meant a vehicle was uncertain of its location, and a discrepancy in data from different sensors on a vehicle.

    GM’s Cruise Automation — which is building autonomous cars — said its on-board sensors didn’t always capture all data on vehicles approaching in opposite lanes, and its system didn’t always combine all the data at hand for analyzing the movement of another vehicle entering an intersection. Cruise vehicles also planned a turn into a lane of traffic where there wasn’t enough space; failed to give way to another vehicle trying to enter a lane; and planned a turn into a roadway with oncoming traffic approaching quickly. Other faults noted by Cruise included not braking hard enough when approaching a stop sign, taking a right turn too wide and difficulty around construction cones.

    Cruise, like Delphi, said its cars had trouble when other drivers behaved badly. Other drivers had failed to yield, run stop signs, drifted out of their own lane and cut in front aggressively, all forcing human intervention, Cruise reported.

    Nissan, testing its own autonomous cars, reported a software “crash” and said its system’s location accuracy could be affected by a not-always-steady GPS signal.

    Telenav, a connected-vehicle technology company, reported that its system didn’t always keep to the three-second following distance it was supposed to maintain between a car and the vehicle in front of it. Also, the system steered a vehicle too close to a lane boundary, parked poorly at times, and mistook a bridge overpass for a car stopped in front.

    Google spin-off Waymo described one of its vehicles failing to see that a “no right on red” signal had been turned on, and the company also cited hardware and software problems requiring disengagement.

    The number of miles driven during testing and the number of disengagements varies considerably among companies. And the firms are at varying stages of developing self-driving vehicle technology.

    As Telenav put it, “Our autonomous system is still being developed and we are working on improvement cycles. At this stage we expect that (the) driver will be taking over the car control from time to time due to the fact that it is new technology.”"
     
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  8. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Tesla’s Autopilot is making headlines once again for all the wrong reasons
    Chris Mills @chrisfmills, May 14th, 2018 at 4:29 PM
    http://bgr.com/2018/05/14/tesla-autopilot-hands-on-wheel-sensors-vs-cadillac-super-cruise/

    "Last month, Tesla CEO and part-time rocket enthusiast Elon Musk said that his factory was in “production hell” thanks to issues producing thousands of Model 3 cars every week.

    But while his factory has been in production hell, the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature installed on Tesla’s Model S and Model X cars has been in PR hell.

    A handful of fatal accidents involving Autopilot were backed up by scary videos of vehicles following white lines straight into concrete lane dividers, and Tesla didn’t help things out by publicly feuding with one of the safety organizations investigating the incident.

    Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal put out a story saying that Tesla engineers proposed adding a driver attention feature to Autopilot that would ensure drivers were paying attention to the road when Autosteer was enabled.

    Tesla has blamed a lack of attention in every fatal Autopilot accident, and Musk has repeatedly pointed out that Autopilot is meant to be a driver assist feature, not a fully autonomous driving solution.

    But according to the WSJ story, Tesla execs including Musk rejected the idea of adding driver awareness sensors, thanks to increased cost and a perceived lack of benefit.

    “Tesla Inc.’s engineers repeatedly discussed adding sensors that would ensure drivers look at the road or keep their hands on the wheel both before and after the driver-assistance system was introduced in 2015,” the WSJ‘s sources reported.

    “Tesla executives including Chief Executive Elon Musk rejected the ideas because of costs and concerns that the technology was ineffective or would annoy drivers with overly sensitive sensors that would beep too often, the people said.”

    A Tesla spokesperson didn’t deny the story to the WSJ, instead saying that “Everyone at Tesla is not only encouraged, but expected, to provide criticism and feedback to ensure that we’re creating the best, safest cars on the road,” adding that “we make decisions based on what will improve safety and provide the best customer experience, not for any other reason.”

    Continuing with his recent trend of bluntly addressing issues on Twitter, Musk went much further than his spokespeople:

    "This is false. Eyetracking rejected for being ineffective, not for cost. WSJ fails to mention that Tesla is safest car on road, which would make article ridiculous. Approx 4X better than avg."
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2018

    Something worth noting here is that Tesla does have a driver attention system in Autopilot, a feature that was added after the first fatal Autopilot crash in May 2016.

    In an update rolled out September 2016, Tesla added hands-on-wheel detection using the steering wheel sensors, and added a feature that beeps warnings at the driver if they take their hands off the wheel for too long.

    Owners weren’t delighted with the update, and the internet is full of “hacks” to trick the sensors, including a custom-made $179 device that clamps on the wheel and removes the “nag” warnings.

    A better and more robust driver attention system would be a camera looking at the driver, a feature Cadillac uses in its Super Cruise system.

    The camera monitors the driver to check that their eyes are on the road, and will disable Super Cruise if you take your eyes off the road for too long. Presumably, that was the kind of sensor that Tesla engineers wanted to add to Autopilot, but Musk rejected."
     
  9. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Tesla Model 3 unofficial road trip ends in crash, driver blames Autopilot
    Fred Lambert - May. 25th 2018 6:30 pm ET
    https://electrek.co/2018/05/25/tesla-model-3-unofficial-road-trip-crash-driver-blames-autopilot/

    "The Tesla Model 3 unofficial road trip in Europe has ended with a crash in Macedonia Greece.

    The driver, who was unharmed during the crash, is blaming Autopilot for veering into the median by itself.

    You You Xue, an early Tesla Model 3 owner, created the project to tour North America and Europe and show the new electric vehicle to the many reservation holders.

    We caught up with You You in Quebec during the North American tour.

    Later, he shipped his Model 3 to the UK to recreate the experience in Europe – something that Tesla tried to discourage him to do since the Model 3 hasn’t yet been homologated in Europe and it is not compatible with local charging standard nor does it have an internet connection.

    You You decided to go through with the trip nonetheless and it went well for a while until today.

    He posted those pictures on his Facebook page and confirmed that the trip was over:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    He commented about the circumstance around the crash:

    “Vehicle was engaged on Autopilot at 120 km/h. Car suddenly veered right without warning and crashed into the centre median (edit: divider at the exit fork). Both wheels (edit: one wheel) completely shattered, my door wouldn’t even open correctly. I’m unharmed.”

    We contacted Tesla about You You’s claim that the crash was caused by the Autopilot veering off and we will update if we get an answer.

    Update: Tesla sent us the following statement:

    “While we appreciate You You Xue’s effort to spread the word about Model 3, he was informed that Tesla does not yet have a presence in Eastern Europe and that there is no connectivity or service available for vehicles there. In addition, Model 3 has not yet been approved and homologated for driving outside of the U.S. and Canada.

    Although we haven’t been able to retrieve any data from the vehicle given that the accident occurred in an unsupported area, Tesla has always been clear that the driver must remain responsible for the car at all times when using Autopilot. We’re sorry to hear that this accident occurred, and we’re glad You You is safe.”

    You You later updated the post with an additional comment:

    “policeman responding on scene is a fan of the Model 3, go figure. I’m just stating the facts in my post. My insurance is third-party only, which means I will receive no compensation for this collision. I am now calling a tow truck driver who will tow the car to Thessaloniki as it is not drivable. I will make further plans, most likely to repatriate the car back to San Francisco from there. I’m trying to stay positive guys, I’m so lucky to have had this opportunity to represent the EV community and movement, and so unlucky to have had this happen to me after driving without an issue through 25 countries.”

    Electrek’s Take

    When he says that it hits the median at an “exit fork”, the accident sounds reminiscent of the fatal Model X accident on Autopilot in Mountain View where it confused the median for a lane.

    But in that case, Tesla showed that the driver had a lot of the time to take control.

    While using Autopilot, the driver always needs to stay attentive and be ready to take control at all time.

    As for You You’s accident, he makes it sounds like he had no time to respond as the car “suddenly veered”, but I have never seen Autopilot do that before.

    I am not saying that You You is lying, but it is certainly a strange situation. Also, it looks like he was driving late at night and has been driving for days.

    If it’s not a misuse of Autopilot and the system indeed “suddenly veered” into the median, then it might be the first example of Autopilot causing an accident, but I think we need to have the data logs before we get into that.

    It might be difficult to get that if the vehicle wasn’t connected to the internet.

    What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

    Update: I’ve now been in contact with You You who shared those two additional pictures saying that the car veered to the right 5 meter before the left side of the Model 3 hit the right side of the median on the first picture:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Tesla in Autopilot mode crashes into parked Laguna Beach police cruiser
    By Brittny Mejia, May 29, 2018 2:50pm
    upload_2018-6-7_0-4-28.png
    A Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode struck a parked Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle Tuesday morning. (Laguna Beach Police Department)

    "Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle Tuesday morning, authorities said.

    The collision happened at 11:07 a.m. at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road, according to Laguna Police Sgt. Jim Cota. The officer was not in the cruiser at the time of the crash. The Tesla driver suffered minor injuries, but refused transportation to the hospital.

    “Thankfully there was not an officer at the time in the police car,” Cota said. “The police car is totaled.”

    Cota said that a year ago in the same area there was another collision involving a Tesla running into a semi-truck.

    A Tesla driver in Utah crashed while using Autopilot and looking at her phone earlier this month. Two fatal crashes while the system was being used also have occurred: one in California in March and a 2016 crash in Florida.

    The Palo Alto-based automaker, led by Elon Musk, has said it repeatedly warns drivers to stay alert, keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of their vehicle at all times while using the Autopilot system.

    “Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings,’” a Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed statement."

    What the heck is it with Fire Trucks and Police cars Tesla? :(
     
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