Tesla did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Complaints about the FSD kit can pale compared to concerns that people will be killed by abuse or mishaps in Tesla’s driver assistance technology. But they point to a common thread running through Tesla’s approach to driving automation: the company makes promises other automakers shy away from, and its customers believe their cars can do more on their own than they really can.
“One downside to automated technology can be its over-reliability – people relying on something they may not be able to do,” said Jason K. Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit that has been in the industry since Beginnings observed in the 1970s.
Other automakers are far more conservative when it comes to automation. Companies like General Motors and Toyota offer driver assistance technologies that are similar to autopilot and FSD, but they do not market them as self-driving systems.
Backed by billions of dollars from major automakers and technology giants, companies like Argo, Cruise and Waymo have been developing and testing autonomous vehicles for years. However, in the short term, they have no intention of selling the technology to consumers. They design vehicles that they plan to use as ride hailing services in certain cities. Think Uber without the drivers.
In each city, they first create a detailed, three-dimensional map. First, they equip normal cars with lidar sensors – “light detection and ranging” devices that measure distances with the help of light pulses. As the company’s employees drive these cars around town, the sensors collect all of the information needed to create the map and determine the distance to each curb, median, and curb.
The cars then use this map to independently navigate the streets. They continue to monitor their surroundings with lidar, comparing what they see with what is shown on the map, and thus keeping a close eye on where they are in the world.
At the same time, these sensors warn the cars of objects nearby, including other cars, pedestrians and cyclists. But they don’t do this alone. Additional sensors – including radar and cameras – do the same. Each sensor provides its own snapshot of what is happening on the road and serves as a control for the others.