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?
As a thought experiment, imagine the response of NHTSA – anointed proctor of Our Safety – and the “consumer advocates” who presume to advocate for consumers who’ve never given them proxy power to do so – if any other car company sold a non-electric car with cruise control that caused the car to suddenly accelerate and run into things. Or which had a defective drive-by-wire system that put the transmission in Reverse rather than Drive, resulting in the defective cars backing into things.
The answer hardly requires elaboration. There would be an immediate ululation from NHTSA, et al – and very shortly thereafter, an edict requiring the immediate recall of every “affected” car.
But when Tesla foists dangerous, defective cars on the public roads the reaction is . . . amusement. How funny! Look at the Tesla almost pull right in front of that car! Watch it back up into the path of that car…
Even more so the get-out-of-jail (and civil court) mumbo-jumbo Tesla posts on its web site:
“You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times and be within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick-moving people, bicycles and cars.”
Italics added to emphasize the hilarity.
Imagine you back up into someone and smash their car – or them. You go to court and tell the judge: “I did not detect all obstacles.”
Note also the Teslian gaslighting. It is the fault of “quick moving people, bicycles and cars” if they get hit by a not-so-smart summoned Tesla.
How does one apply the brakes remotely, by the way?
Remember, the driver isn’t in the car. He is “monitoring” it as it drives itself to where he is waiting. If he sees the car about to run someone over, what does he do about it? Frantically press the “off” button?
Is there an “off” button?
Or is he expected to “monitor” the car’s driverless movements so that if it does run someone over, he can summon EMS?
So why does Tesla get away with this – and everything else? The answer is as simple as it is frightening. Tesla is indulged because Tesla is serving a purpose and that purpose is to make EVs seem cool and inevitable. To make people believe they are The Future – before most of them have any clue what that will actually mean.
Tesla has been propped up by subsidies and mandates for 15 years in order to change the image of electric cars – and Elon Musk has wildly succeeded at this. People also bought into the image of OJ Simpson – what a great guy!
And then they found out what was behind the smile.
. . .
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