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Another Accident Blamed on Autopilot

Another Accident Blamed on Autopilot

Is Autopilot the new scapegoat for bad drivers, or are there really malfunctions of this serious nature going on? I have not had any issues. Have any of you?

This driver drove through two walls into a gym and said that while she hit the brake pedal, the Autopilot kept accelerating.

https://electrek.co/2018/04/24/tesla-model-x-crashes-walls-gym-driver-cl...

EVRider | April 24, 2018

Most likely the driver pressed the wrong pedal, since they were in a parking lot at the time. We'll see.

GHammer | April 24, 2018

I dont see anywhere where it says Autopilot is to blame. Clear case of pedal confusion.

jordanrichard | April 24, 2018

Part of the problem isn’t the driver, it’s Electrek. Electrek is, I assume, trying to help the EV movement. Being quick to report every accident involving an EV, particularly a Tesla that has become synomonous with AP, doesn’t help. This is nothing more than any other “whoops I hit the wrong pedal” accident. Electrek should be wasting time with this. IMHO the editorial staff didn’t look beyond the end of their noses on this.

jerryk | April 24, 2018

I wonder if having no creep causes people to revert back to ICE familiarity. Foot just resting on pedal and car is slowing to a stop, therefore my foot must off throttle and on the brake pedal. Ok, ready to get out, step on brake a little and OH SH*&^*^t it is moving forward. Need to really step on "brake" to stop. What! It is going faster! PUT THE PEDAL TO THE FLOOR! Ahhh. WALL COMING UP."

lilbean | April 24, 2018

Anyone who works out at Anytime Fitness is dumb. ;)

Tesla-David | April 24, 2018

This clearly was not an AP issue, just an incompetent driver who pressed the go pedal instead of the brake.

neukwen | April 24, 2018

Creep On = 1 pedal parking (less chance of confusion)

Creep Off = 2 pedal parking (greater chance of catastrophic human error)

Remnant | April 25, 2018

@EVRider (April 24, 2018)

<< Most likely the driver pressed the wrong pedal, since they were in a parking lot at the time. >>

Mixed responsibility!

Not necessarily AP-Driver, could be Tesla-Driver!

Spontaneous acceleration not unheard of. Could happen in any electronically controlled car.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_unintended_acceleration

NoMoPetrol | April 25, 2018

@Remnant "...Spontaneous acceleration not unheard of. Could happen in any electronically controlled car."

Hence the existence of a braking system complete with brake pedal.

SCCRENDO | April 25, 2018

@Remnant. Congratulations. Your lack of knowledge and logic is not only confined to science and climate change. It is universal.

SamO | April 25, 2018

Educate yourself. NHTSA reported on pedal confusion:

ABSTRACT: This project examined the prevalence of pedal application errors and the driver, vehicle, roadway and/or environmental characteristics associated with pedal misapplication crashes based on a literature review, analysis of news media reports, a panel of driver rehabilitation specialists, analysis of multiple crash databases, and case studies. An analysis of crashes attributed to pedal-related vehicle equipment malfunction, rather than to a driver error, was also carried out based on a media scan.
Available sources provide an estimate of 15 pedal misapplication crashes per month in the United States, but there are limits to the reporting and archiving of these events that could result in underestimation. Analyses of media reports and a State crash database indicated that the drivers in almost two-thirds of such crashes were females. When crash involvement is plotted against driver age a U-shaped function shows significant over-involvement by the youngest (age 16 to 20) and oldest (76 and older) drivers. Driver inattention and distraction were common contributing factors across age groups.
Analysis of news reports examined which vehicle types, makes, and models most often experienced stuck accelerators and other equipment malfunctions in crashes between 2000 and 2010. Passenger cars were by far the most prevalent, and the makes that were most strongly over-represented in relation to their proportion of the U.S. fleet were all domestic.
Besides identifying future research needs, recommendations were to educate physicians about medical conditions associated with pedal misapplications; refer drivers with lower limb sensory loss to driver rehabilitation specialists for evaluation for hand controls; inform the public about how to counteract an unintended acceleration; and provide law enforcement with a practical means of recording information about drivers in pedal misapplication crashes.

https://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/811597.pdf (warning PDF)

Tropopause | April 25, 2018

Always seems to be these drivers who like to get store-front row parking. Maybe they should try parking in the boon docks so they will have room to spare when they make a boo-boo.

TeslaTap.com | April 25, 2018

@Tropopause - I can see it now - Specially marked parking places with large steel barriers in front. "If you don't understand which pedal is the brake, please park here" :)

SCCRENDO | April 25, 2018

@TeslaTap. Or it could just say "reserved for Remnant"

SUN 2 DRV | April 25, 2018

neukwen: I see it just the opposite.

Creep On: Trains you to sometimes press the pedal to slow down while parking. (And lift your foot to go faster) This is exactly the wrong behavior if you're doing anything other than parking when you press to go faster. A driver used to Creep On can easily become confused about which direction to use each of the two pedals, hence inciting an unintended acceleration incident.

Creep Off: Trains you to use one pedal to Stop and the other Pedal to go faster. I think this is far more consistent and thus the driver is more likely to not have an unintended acceleration incident.

Most ICE cars have creep (always on) and ICE cars have unintended acceleration incidents for many many years. Certainly unintended acceleration isn't something new that's come up since the advent of Creep Off capable EVs.

neukwen | April 25, 2018

Creep On = 1 pedal parking: To stop, you press... "the brake". To move, you let off... "the brake". If confused or startled, you slam on... "the brake". Confused people cause no harm with Creep On.

SamO states above there are estimated to be 15 pedal misapplication crashes reported per month in the U.S. Based on the proportion of Tesla's in the U.S., we would expect less than one per year from a Tesla. Yet I see nearly one every week reported on this forum alone.

I am worried if this keeps happening it may damage Tesla's reputation among the less informed public. I want Tesla to succeed.

SamO | April 25, 2018

Best to read the entire sentence:

“Available sources provide an estimate of 15 pedal misapplication crashes per month in the United States, but there are limits to the reporting and archiving of these events that could result in underestimation.”

And there have been a handful of reports, nowhere near “one per week” as you claim.

SUN 2 DRV | April 26, 2018

Creep On = 1 pedal parking: To stop, you press... "the brake". To move, you let off... "the brake". If confused or startled, you slam on... "the brake". Confused people cause no harm with Creep On.

@ neukwen: That's only true IFF their foot is over the brake pedal. Consider the confusion that occurs when you're driving in a parking lot with your foot alternating between the accelerator pedal (for medium speeds) and the brake pedal (creep at low speeds) Easily can get backwards control action...

Again, ICE has creep and also has LOTS of unintended acceleration accidents. Creep Off is obviously NOT the cause, and I maintain is in fact trains you to be more deliberate and safer.

SO | April 26, 2018

Lets face it. It’s human error.

That being said, in an ICE, you can hear the engine rev up and that is a signal to let off the pedal. With a Tesla, the acceleration is so instant and quiet, these people cannot react fast enough.

So, turn on creep mode if you have slow reaction time.

blacktape242 | April 26, 2018

no way thats AP fault.

paul | April 26, 2018

Personally, I like the slow accurate movement that creep provides,
and 1 pedal parking (as mentioned above).
But - each to their own preferences. Neither is necessarily right.

neukwen | April 26, 2018

Teslas currently account for less than 1 of every 1000 passenger vehicles registered in the U.S. So based on SamO's 15/month reported statistic, we would expect less than one "report" of pedal misapplication crashes from a Tesla every 5 years if the risk is the same. (I'm an actuary. This is my life!)

I noted 4 different accounts on these forums in the last 3 weeks: The April 24 Electrek article referenced by the OP in this thread, @avesraggiana April 7 in the Model X forum, @sherbear April 7 in the Model S forum, and @ytwin April 8 in the same Model S forum thread. And I have read about a number of others previously.

I presume there would be under reporting of both the 15/month stat and of accounts on this forum. This data suggests the risk may be considerably higher in a Tesla, which permits drivers to turn Creep Off.

I love my Tesla, and agree these are the result of human error. I'm just concerned about the potential reputational risk to Tesla.

SCCRENDO | April 26, 2018

@neukwen. These are not controlled studies. There could be observational bias because of selective reporting on these forums. Driving style is different in a new concept car. The numbers are small. If you draw conclusions from uncontrolled circumstances I hope my insurance company does not employ you.

SamO | April 26, 2018

@neukwen,

You also have to control for the type and power of the car. Misapplication of the gas pedal in a VW Beatle has less negative outcome than pressing the accelerator on a 600hp supercar.

And we have no idea how many more than the study states. It could be several orders of magnitude where the driver fails to report to police or insurance.

Rocky_H | April 27, 2018

@SUN 2 DRV, I wholeheartedly disagree with you here.

Quote: “Creep On: Trains you to sometimes press the pedal to slow down while parking.”

That is not true at all. The whole point of that in this discussion is that because the car is always trying to move forward, you have to keep your foot on the brake pedal ALL the time for EVERY slowing and stopping procedure—not “sometimes”—so there will never be any question about which pedal your foot happens to be on when you are going very slowly.

Quote: “@ neukwen: That's only true IFF their foot is over the brake pedal.”

Yes, and this creep mode would be forcing people to put their foot on the brake pedal, so they already have it on the correct one to stop. Notice that these almost always seem to happen when someone is going 1 or 2 miles per hour and are then about to stop! The ongoing problem is when people are lightly pressing the accelerator pedal to get that 1-2 mph forward movement and then need to stop. Their foot is on the “wrong” pedal, and they have to remember to stop. Yes, it’s all obviously still human error if they forget to switch, but having the foot already on the brake covers that if they forget.

I obviously do prefer to have creep turned off for other reasons, but this is the circumstance where creep modes does provide a small margin of CYA protection in case of driver error that creep off is a little vulnerable to.

Sleepydoc1 | April 27, 2018

I've never tried, but does AP work in a parking lot? Not parking or summons part, but AP as in hand on steering wheel on the freeway.

Remnant | April 27, 2018

@ NoMoPetrol | April 25, 2018

<< [Re: Spontaneous acceleration not unheard of.] ... Hence the existence of a braking system complete with brake pedal. >>

The driver's response might not be quick enough to prevent an accident.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_unintended_acceleration

SCCRENDO | April 28, 2018

If your driver’s response is that slow its time to give up driving and certainly not use AP2

Remnant | April 29, 2018

@SCCRENDO (April 28, 2018)

<< If your driver’s response is that slow its time to give up driving and certainly not use AP2 >>

You seem to have a propensity to launch ignorant comments before you understand the more complex issues.

Just peruse the darn link in my post.

Driver's ID, skill level, or AP is immaterial to the occurrence of Sudden Unintended Acceleration, even though pedal misapplication and poor AP programming can certainly contribute to some such events.