If you think some people drive like they are crazy in traffic today, it’s nothing like they do in the not-too-distant dystopian future of Mad Max.

Autonomous driving system might have an even tougher time to handle those fictional situations, but Tesla is actually somewhat addressing that with a ‘Mad Max’ mode in a development build of Autopilot.

In heavy traffic, different drivers have different approaches to change lane.

Some require several car lengths before being comfortable enough to move while others do it with a vehicle still in their blind spot.

It’s an important part of driving that autonomous driving systems will have to deal with at different levels of aggressivity, which can still be required since it’s sometimes important to change lane quickly.

In a weird conversation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk actually revealed that Tesla is working on several levels of blind spot threshold agressivity – including a ‘Mad Max’ level one.

A Twitter user sent Musk a sketch of a Tesla Semi in a Mad Max scene and Musk referenced the ‘Mad Max Mode’:

The CEO added that it is a real thing and shared this image:

What we are seeing here is an image of the center display of a Tesla vehicle with Autopilot on ‘development mode’, which enables Tesla to test different features and modes of Autopilot.

It’s not something that is accessible to Tesla owners.

We have previously seen this screen when Tesla hacker verygreen hacked the mode and more recently with an image of the ‘Augmented Vision’ tab in action.

Now Musk showed the ‘Feature Settings’ and it includes and ‘Mad Max’ option in ‘Blind Spot Threshold’.

The CEO jokingly added that they could make it even more aggressive with a ‘LA Freeway’ mode:

Interestingly, Musk added that in practice it will be more likely to add a ‘manual override’ for more aggressive maneuvers since self-driving cars will virtually ‘always yield’:

Again to be clear, that’s not something that is currently available in Tesla vehicles with Autopilot.

Currently, Tesla Autopilot can perform lane changes, but it needs to be initiated by the driver through activating the blinkers. The driver is responsible for making sure the way is clear before initiating it.

Musk previously said that he sees fully autonomous software being ready for the end of next year. Though he also said that Tesla’s version 9 software update is coming in August with the first ‘full self-driving features’,

It’s still not clear what kind of automation those features will actually enable, but we are starting to get hints with those glimpses of the Autopilot dev mode.

Top image source via Julien Bouvier 

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