This is part 3 of our transcript of Elon Musk’s press conference about Tesla Autopilot under v8.0 update. You can read the part 1 and part 2 for Musk’s opening statement and part 3 is the first part of the Q&A:
Tim Stevens – Roadshow
Hi Elon, you mentioned the radar working well with signs and thing like that but mentioned perhaps something big and fluffy might be a challenge. Can you give me an idea of what that means for something like a moose, a deer or horses?
Elon Musk – Tesla CEO
Yeah it’s a good question. Actually, it should work for something like moose- because something like a moose is quite a big mass, but it may not work for say a small deer. A small deer probably would not trigger braking, but a moose I think would. I’m not 100% sure of that, but I think it would trigger on a moose.
We got a lot of customers in Canada and other places where there are moose-size creatures so I think we will get good information on that and obviously, you definitely want to brake for a moose because they are very big and it can cause a lot of harms.
I think it will (stop for a moose), but if not, I’m confident we can tune it to do so.
Chris Woodyard – USA Today
Yes Elon, can you tell me how big of a magnitude of improvement this will be?
Elon Musk – Tesla CEO
I would imagine that the improvements, radar and others, probably cuts the accident rates more than in half, but that’s my guess. I think it will make the Model S and the Model X by far the safests cars on the road. Not even close. I don’t think there would be a car that is even within a multiple of S and the X.
And it’s important to note that it will improve over time due to fleet learning. We would expect a steady improvement over time.
Jordan Golson – The Verge
Thanks a lot. Can you talk a little more about what difference will be between driving on Autopilot and not as far as the emergency braking goes and when the car knows an accident is imminent and it’s about to take over – because automatic emergency braking has been around for a little while now, but I noticed in the blog post it talks about the Autosteer will kick in and try to help out and things like that. So when will the car take over and know when the Autosteer is not on?
Elon Musk – Tesla CEO
The full answer is sort of complex and nuanced and I think difficult to incorporate into an article, but I do my best here. So if Autosteer is not on, let say you are going around a sharp bend and there’s a metal guard railing or a post or some obstacle and there’s a sharp bend, if Autosteer is not on, the only logical thing to do is to only actuate the brakes at the last split second because it doesn’t know if you are actually going to hit the curb if you are distracted.
The assumption normally would be that the driver would actually take the curve and not actually power through whatever the object is outside of the sharp turn. It’s quite different with Autosteer on because Autosteer then knows what its predicted path is so it knows that it’s going to turn and it knows that it shouldn’t brake just because there’s an obstacle in front of you in a sharp turn – off the road in a sharp turn.
What it can actually do is scan ahead and see if there’s an obstacle on the road in its predicted path and in that case there’s much more time to brake – and can actually more likely come to a full stop. Let’s say that there’s a car or truck that is broken down or something on the road it can brake in a much more measured way and it is much more likely to reach a full stop and avoid hitting the object.
So it’s really gonna make a lot more sense to enable Autosteer than not enable Autosteer. Does that answer your question?
I should mention that there also one other element: even when Autosteer is not actually turned on, if the car is highly confident that you are really off the road, aren’t countering the free space violation, and you are going to hit something unless you turn – we will turn on the ability gradually to nudge the car at least mostly back onto the road so that at least you are not completely going off the road.
This will be a function that somebody can turn on or off. Do you want essentially “Emergency Autosteer”? In that scenario, it wouldn’t try to keep you within your lane lines, but it would keep you from veering you off the road.
You can read Part 4 here: Transcript: Elon Musk’s press conference about Tesla Autopilot under v8.0 update [Part 4]