Sunday , November 17 2019
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Not-So-Smart Summoning

Summary:
If you doubt there’s a double standard when it comes to saaaaaaaaaaaaafety, consider the fact that the government isn’t recalling or even investigating Teslas equipped with something called “Smart Summon,” a feature that is causing driverless Teslas to bump into other cars and – inevitably – people who happen to be in the way. Tesla owners who are too lazy to walk to where their car is parked push a button on their remote to summon the car, which drives itself from wherever it is parked to where its owner is waiting. The problem is the driverless Teslas are glaucomic; their hazy electronic eyes don’t see cross traffic in time – or they back into it. They have very poor peripheral vision and – if we were dealing with a human

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If you doubt there’s a double standard when it comes to saaaaaaaaaaaaafety, consider the fact that the government isn’t recalling or even investigating Teslas equipped with something called “Smart Summon,” a feature that is causing driverless Teslas to bump into other cars and – inevitably – people who happen to be in the way.

Tesla owners who are too lazy to walk to where their car is parked push a button on their remote to summon the car, which drives itself from wherever it is parked to where its owner is waiting. The problem is the driverless Teslas are glaucomic; their hazy electronic eyes don’t see cross traffic in time – or they back into it. They have very poor peripheral vision and – if we were dealing with a human driver – would likely have their license revoked on the basis of not being able to pass a vision test.

The DMV used to fail driver’s license applicants who couldn’t back into/out of a parking lot without knocking over the cones placed at either end.

But it’s ok to let a car back itself into other cars – and people.

Scores of “accidents” – which aren’t, really, as they were all avoidable – have occurred all over the country since the technology was “enabled” by Tesla just a couple of weeks ago.

More are inevitable. At some point, a pedestrian who happens to be in the way – but isn’t noticed by the car’s rheumy electronic eyes – is going to be maimed or even killed.  

This is arguably unsafe.

More actually unsafe than, say, not wearing a seat belt or disabling an air bag – actions which aren’t the least bit dangerous to others, at any rate. But a run-amok Tesla is dangerous to anyone who happens to be nearby.

But no “call” for an immediate recall – or at the very least, that this dangerous technology be disabled until the cars stop backing into things and pulling out in front of moving things that have the right-of-way.

Leaving aside the saaaaaaaaaaaafety issue, there’s also the legal issue. Who is responsible for the damages caused by a glaucomic and driverless Tesla? If you are run over by one, do you sue the driver who “summoned” it? Or is the company which knowingly put defective – it doesn’t work – technology in its cars and then sold those cars to people and told those people it was safe to use – the proper object of a class-action suit for criminal recklessness?

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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