It’s Not Just Tesla Autopilot—Everything Is in Beta

3 Aug

Everything Is In Beta

I remember my first real girlfriend. We were eleven; promises were made. My first car? I was going to keep it forever. My parents were together, until they weren’t. I remember the girl I wanted to marry—the first girl and the third. I remember my father’s voice from the next room. Then on an answering machine, which stopped working, then on a voicemail, which I lost when I switched to T-Mobile. Then, only in my memory.

Nothing is static. The world, with all of us in it, is in a constant state of change. Everything is in beta, and anyone who says otherwise is selling you something.

Love or hate Elon Musk, his greatest societal contribution isn’t “Premium Electric Vehicles” or reusable rockets. It might just be his use of language—specifically that phrase, “in beta.” Did you think that term means “not ready,” “incomplete,” or “needs testing”? It can, and it does, but now, it also means something else: In the world of automotive technology, especially autonomy, “in beta” now means: We have to move faster.

Read the rest over at The Drive

The War For Autonomous Driving: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class VS. 2017 Tesla Model S

27 Jul

Drive Pilot

Looking for a comparison of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the 2016 Tesla Model S? This is not that. Both are brilliant, gorgeous cars—best-of-breed luxury sedans in the war between internal combustion and electricity—but who cares?

The future belongs to Autonomous Driving.

The 2017 E-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz available with Drive Pilot—the brand name for their latest semi-Autonomous Driving (AD) suite—and is the first direct assault on Tesla’s Autopilot, which has captured the public’s imagination, for better or worse, since its release in 2015.

What is AD? It’s what happens when you combine Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Automatic Steering, and then a car begins to drive itself. How long, how well and how safely it does this is the difference between today and tomorrow, between semi-Autonomous and truly Self-Driving Cars.

Does Mercedes’ Drive Pilot deliver what it calls The Best or Nothing? Or is Autopilot—despite recent controversy—still the state-of-the-semi-Autonomous-art?

That depends on your expectations.

Read the rest over at The/Drive

In Defense of Tesla’s Autopilot, Part 1

8 Jul

Tesla Autopilot Accident

Before Joshua Brown was killed in his Tesla Model S while watching a movie on Autopilot, I had a conversation with my friend, Comms. “The first person to kill someone in a Tesla on Autopilot,” Comms said, “is going to be responsible for 340,000 deaths.”

Comms is an old friend working in communications for a major automotive manufacturer. He’d just spent an hour failing to convince me Elon Musk was the modern Preston Tucker, but I couldn’t argue with his newest line of reasoning.

“Nonsense,” I said. “It’s great. I know its limitations.” Continue reading

Alex Roy Digest 5.10.16: Snowden’s Self-Driving Contradiction, Ford’s Fake Cylinders

10 May

Snowden

Love or hate Edward Snowden, we all know what he stands for. PRIVACY, right? Wrong. Because Snowden clearly also believes in Self-Driving Cars (SDC’s). For someone who claims to support privacy at any cost – including what critics would call treason – it’s the height of cognitive dissonance to ALSO believe in SDCs. SDCs, but definition, require the near total abdication of privacy.

How can Snowden not see this? And which side does he ultimately fall on?

Continue reading

Alex Roy Digest 5.4.16.2: Google is Colossus, China AD, Tesla

4 May

Colossus

GM ditched Google over data control? Add their coming big AI, and Google is Colossus. Or will be. Does that mean Ford is OK with Google’s data control? What does this say about BMW and Daimler’s rejection of Apple’s terms? Did Apple want what Google wants? Is Google already an adolescent Colossus?

Continue reading

Autonomous Driving Nomenclature Makes No Sense

4 Feb

Alex Roy On Autonomous Driving Nomenclature

When it comes to marketing autonomous driving, carmakers have a problem. Actually two problems. First, they need to convince us we need Autonomous Driving. Also, they need to explain to us exactly what these features actually do. Everyone knows ABS means Anti-Lock Braking, because all manufacturers use it as a generic term. Not so with Autonomous Driving features, and that’s a big problem. Because you can’t sell something you can’t explain.

Let’s take a look at what the average person sees by Googling three German manufacturers’ current, and upcoming, models. Oh, and Tesla. Tesla has led the way in simplifying autonomous driving nomenclature, but Mercedes, Audi and BMW are right behind them. Or so I thought.

Read the full article over at The Drive…

Alex Roy On What The Ford/Google Driverless Partnership REALLY Means

22 Dec

Alex Roy On What The Ford/Google Driverless Partnership Really Means

It has begun. Ford and Google will partner to build Driverless Cars, according to sources. I must be Nostradamus. Just last week I explained “How Car Companies Can Survive The Self-Driving Car Apocalypse,” and now Ford has allegedly done precisely what I suggested OEM’s need to do to ensure their survival. Ford, as the first American OEM to partner with Google, has now gained a temporary but Brobdingnagian advantage over every other legacy OEM on the planet.

Yes, Brobdingnagian. On the scale of size, that’s bigger than big, massive or colossal.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Alex Roy is the author of the LiveDriveRepeat blog and Editor-at-Large for The Drive.
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California’s Rules on Self-Driving Cars Don’t Really Matter

17 Dec

Alex Roy's LiveDriveRepeat

Don’t believe yesterday’s clickbait nonsense about the California DMV’s draft rules for Self-Driving Cars. There’s much more (and less) than meets the eye here, and it affects new and legacy car manufacturers VERY differently.

Read my new story over at The Drive.

Enjoy.

How Car Companies Can Survive the Self-Driving Apocalypse

11 Dec

Alex Roy's LiveDriveRepeat - How Car Companies Can Survive the Self-Driving Apocalypse

I know which carmakers will survive in a world of self-driving cars.

How do I know?

About fifteen years ago, I was a screenwriter. The gig lasted seven days, during which I was put up at the Chateau Marmont in the same bungalow in which John Belushi died. Horscht, the wild-eyed, fast-talking, curly-mulleted producer paying for it, had a vision he delivered to me as he stood in the doorway, silhouetted before the last sunlight I would see for a week:

Read the full story over at The Drive…