In May, one man lost his life driving Tesla Model S. Autopilot option was turned on at the moment of the accident. Journalists are blaming an autopilot option, the autopilot option is directly connected to the technology advancement, the technology advancement is connected to the company’s shares and company’s shares are connected to the development of their products, the green energy products. On the other hand, green energy is not so popular in the industry. Why?
After the May 7th accident, there were a couple of other crashes, luckily without any casualties. There were some broken windows, fences, doors, mirrors and other cars. The only victims of those crashes were the wallets of the drivers. Those drivers bought Tesla Model S and Model X, some out of curiosity, others out of their love towards EVs and the rest of them… well because “why not?”. The sad thing is that those drivers or owners tried to blame the Tesla Motors for their accidents. To be precise, there were three accidents in the last two weeks, in which drivers tried to get a “Jail Free” card. Neither of them told the truth. Their sincerity came to question after Tesla Motors had reviewed their Model X’s logs.
One Model X owner hit the “gas” pedal while trying to stop on the parking place, thus continued to the building wall. He claimed that the car autonomously crashed. Logs say that the accelerator pedal was pressed manually prior to the accident.
The other Model X driver successfully rolled the unrollable car by hitting the guard rail. The accident happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on July the 1şt. The driver claimed that the autopilot option was activated. Cars rolling and tumbling in accidents are not rare, but rolling over the car so heavy is very hard. You need to travel very fast in order to do that, and logs in Tesla Motors show that the driver hit the accelerator pedal to 100% just before the accident.
The third tried to drive a car on autopilot, with sensors, on a road without a central divider. That one happened on July the 10th. The driver claimed that autopilot suddenly changed the trajectory, turned off the road, causing the car to hit the guard rail and completely destroy the right side of the car. Autopilot is not autonomous driving. You need to look the road. Every time there is a flaw in lane markers, the autopilot will disengage…
I will try to be gentle on this one.
To make some things straight. I am writing to you now. Yes, you. You live in a world of hunger and thirst in one part and food waste and water pollution in the other part of the world. You are lucky enough to afford one of the most expensive vehicles on the planet. When you buy it, a company that produces those vehicles gives you the fuel (charging capabilities) for free and it develops your vehicle through days, months and years via updates for free. You practically began to live in a futuristic world, the day you bought that vehicle.
One day, your car says:”Listen bub, I have just been updated to an Autopilot Beta Stage. From now on, I can assist you in driving. Have a nice day”. You go crazy, start telling your friends and it is a good life.
Summer 2016. You wake up cheerfully singing, said hello to your family and asked your car to get out of the garage by itself and to wait for you in front of your door. Then you had breakfast and brushed your teeth. In the meantime, your car opened the garage doors, slowly checked its surroundings and compliantly went to your door and waited for you to come outside. You drove in that same car, looked at all the pretty things around you, and just as you reached to your bags on the back seat, some strange wall appeared in front of you out of nowhere, and you crashed. Immediately, you remembered that you can blame the “autopilot” option and get around the insurance stuff.
In spite that you can harm the company that was so good for you, that you have the best possible car that anyone can afford, you lie and blame the pioneer manufacturer that had brought to you all that futuristic things you have.
“Shame, shame, shame.”
Actually, that is just the tip of the iceberg. In the depth of the cold ocean beneath you, you can find the monsters that can actually harm that same company. You are the one that anyone can see, you are the instigator.
Others that support your actions are not seen by many.
The World in which we live in is built around fossil fuels. Whether we want to acknowledge or not, wars have been fought because of it. We travel on the wings of oil, we farm our lands on the hoofs soaked into oil and we distribute our food in chariots that go on oil. Oil has become the strongest power one country has. If you control oil, you control the power.
People that control oil roads.
Humans, animals, and plants live on this planet. Only a dozen of people control all of them. How did they get all that power? Well, by trading oil. They are at the beginning of this chain, and if they didn’t do that, somebody else would.
That monster is the biggest pillar of them all. When we talk about saving the world – About the global warming, pollution and the need to change everything to green energy. We never mention them. THEY do not hold the power – they are the power.
Who are they? Every single machine that goes on oil has to be made in parts. Generations of men have been thought how to make those machines and how to implement them in transport, production, construction, water purification and many other parts of the industry. There are different parts of industry interconnected with the production of those machines. If you change that technology “in a day”, all those generations of men and women are going to be thrown into the streets, without their jobs and ways to provide for their families. Thus, by saving the planet you create chaos.
These are the main reasons why so many people are trying to stop the advancements in EV technology. Some car manufacturers even tried to sell diesel as “pure” fuel and lied about the fuel economy of their cars. Now they have to pay billions to their customers and clean the stains out of their names.
EVs are very young technology
Before Tesla Motors gave the world the beautiful Roadster, everyone claimed that EVs can only go for 30 miles on their batteries and that, it was impossible to make a fast EV car. Now, EVs go from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds and can stay on the road 300 miles for an hour of charging. As the final sign of good will, Tesla Motors gave its technology to anyone who wants it. Car manufacturers will slowly go from internal combustion engines to electrical engines. That is a fact.
Journalists are going to continue doing their jobs, and report about anything, politicians are going to continue worrying about their seats and industry is going to advance.
So, understand this world, and take responsibility for your actions. In the end, there is no such thing as a perfect machine. Machines always break!
We always have to intervene because we are drivers and drivers always keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road. Drive safe.
Who Is Afraid of EPA?
What Is The Problem?
The last couple of years were the most turbulent ones for car manufacturers. It looks like everyone is lying about the fuel consumption and that EPA caught only a few of the companies. It looks like EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is finally going to look into this problem appropriately. The inspection is going to be more thorough and it is going to include a larger number of cars, starting from the 2021 models.
Car manufacturers started the cooperation with EPA in 2011, by supplying them with a number of vehicles requested. EPA’s task was to determine whether or not, the company’s tests were true or manipulated with. Those tests are conducted in controllable low wind conditions, and the results depend on a number of variables, such are the aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and driveline friction.
That test is called Coast Down test. That test has all eyes and ears pointed to it by EPA as the most relevant test.
“Coast down is one of the most frequent tests for motor vehicles and consists in vehicle launch from a certain speed with the engine ungeared, simultaneously recording the speed and traveled distance until the vehicle stops. This can be done for different reasons, mainly targeting to obtain valuable information about the general condition of the vehicle and about its interaction with the environment.” – (COAST DOWN TEST – THEORETICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH – Research Paper; Ion Preda, Dinu Covaciu, Gheorghe Ciolan; Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania)
It is used to calibrate the Dynamometer, which is a device for measuring power, force and torque, produced by an engine or a motor.
How Did They Make Us Look Like Fools?
That data is used to determine the overall fuel consumption of a vehicle and there are numbers of ways one company can fool the system. Some companies took off three out of four brakes in order to lower the friction during the test, others kept the car running extensively prior the test, just to warm all the joints and driveline bearings. Those small changes had some serious influence on the final results and are responsible for the over inflated fuel consumption results. Some of the cheating companies are Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi.
Every single company that got caught has some serious problem with their customers. The sales are down and they are at the beginning of their problems because they have to find a way to bring the customers back. And that is going to be a very hard and long process, especially if some of those customers get them to court. Unless someone figures out how to wipe a memory, MIB style.
EPA Checks Only 10%
EPA began checking 10 percent of all the new vehicles in 2011 and that has been proven as a smart move but insufficient one because nobody knows how many frauds are left undiscovered, and how many companies actually managed to lie to us all.
Starting with the 2021 production year, all the manufacturers must comply with EPA and provide them with very detailed description of their testing methods. They must define the exact procedures that are used when determining their road-load dynamometer calibration settings. EPA has also determined the exact minimum for tire’s accumulated miles and test ground surface composition and texture.
For now, if EPA discovers some deviations in road-load energy loss which goes over 10 percent in city driving and 7 percent in highway driving, it will result in the correction of the mpg values on the window sticker. All the inspections were increased to the 20 percent in recent time, but even that is not enough. EPA is going to rise the number of inspected vehicles in years to come.
The main reason for the EPA’s disability to check all of the vehicles is really a simple one. It doesn’t have the right number of people working for them and the resources are pretty scarce. But judging by their optimistic future predictions, the government is making some moves towards the better funding and is actually trying to help the EPA get everything straight once again.
New CAFE Requirements
On the top of all, the NHTSA has just announced that they are doubling the fines for not meeting the fuel economy targets. The plan is to get the fuel consumption to 54 mpg until 2025. And most of the car manufacturers find that time window as a very narrow one and a very difficult goal to achieve. Especially in a time when those companies already have their plans for the next decade. Considering the fines, I think they will comply. But that will reflect on the prices of new vehicles, because of the fines. If those new CAFE regulations are true, the industry has to change every car into a hybrid or a fully electric one.
Only time will show.
Tesla’s Little Crash In Big China
There was another crash, involving Tesla. This time in Beijing and on the other side of the world – in the USA, autopilot saved a man from a certain death.
Once more we have a driver who claims he was on autopilot option at the moment of the crash, and unlike the last time, Tesla Motors agrees and we have a dashboard video to verify the crash.
Very similar to the crash from three months ago in Switzerland.
The two accidents mentioned above were minor ones. There were no injured participants and damage on cars was minimal. But there is that word “autopilot”.
It Forced Tesla To Remove the “Autopilot”?
As reports say, the owner of the vehicle in the newest incident claims that sellers sold the car with the tagline “self-driving”. That is the main problem. It went so far, that Tesla had to remove the phrase “autopilot” and the Chinese expression for “self-driving” out from the website in China. Allegedly, in the most recent posts by “Associated Press”, Tesla’s spokesman said that the removal of the “phrase” or “phrases” was a mistake and that it will be restored. Additionally:”The company said it did revise some language on the site to make it clearer to drivers that Autopilot is a driver-assist system and not a self-driving system”.
The incident happened on the freeway. Tesla was moving on the far left lane, but unfortunately, some vehicle broke down on that same lane, and the owner had to park it on the very edge of that lane. The broken car was far enough to the left, to place itself on (as it looks like) blind corner for Tesla’s sensors. It looks like the blind corner because Tesla Model S had the exact same problem of detecting an obstacle three months ago, in very similar conditions.
It seems like the sensors for the front left corner got downgraded because of the incoming traffic from that direction.
The car was unable to detect parked vehicle and grazed it, leaving a big noticeable mark on the car’s body and side mirrors, damaging itself in that process. Luckily there were no injured passengers nor drivers.
That was the first incident of that kind in China, but it happened after the fatal accident which had happened in Florida on May 7th. That burden would have been much easier for Tesla to handle, only if people understood the manual and actual meaning of “autopilot”.
Lost In Translation
The problem is not only in understanding that autopilot is not autonomous driving but in translation for certain words. Tesla’s spokeswoman sent an email to “Reuters” in which she tried to hint a problem:”At Tesla, we are continuously making improvements, including to translations. We have been in the process of addressing any discrepancies across languages for many weeks.
Timing had nothing to do with current events or articles.” Allegedly, “autopilot” and the expression used for self-driving “zidong jiashi” are the main problems, because, in China, people obviously take that really seriously and to the letter. Because of that, we cannot see those expressions on the main Tesla’s website in China. Instead of those expressions, Tesla now uses some expression which translates roughly to “self-assisted driving”.
Autopilot In News
There aren’t many stories which get the media coverage like news about Teslas. Whether it’s a story about the rise or a story about a fall, every single media rushes into it like it is the greatest treasure. In the last couple of months, those stories about the fall somehow had gotten above the surface more often. They act as a shadow over technological accomplishments, industry has achieved in the last decade. The main objective, many storytellers try to spawn as a breakthrough story, is very often built around the autopilot option – a small detail or a feature this car has.
Every now and then, that feature, that technology, makes mistakes and drivers are there to correct those mistakes by holding their hands near the steering wheel. In the end, “autopilot option” is just there to help you as a driver. It can change lanes, act as an obstacle avoidance assistant, adjust the vehicle speed based on the speed of other vehicles and look for the best parking space and automatically park if needed. It is an advanced version of cruise control and it is not the substitute for a driver in spite the fact that it can actually drive on its own if driver plots a course.
Tesla Saved A Life?!
The self-driving part is in “beta phase” and as such cannot be considered as safe. The company was pretty clear about that. In the mist of that “witch hunt,” there was an article reported by “ZD net”. The article was published on August 9th. Allegedly, a man named Joshua Neally was traveling in his Tesla from Springfield, Missouri to Branson.
In the middle of his trip, he experienced sharp pain in his stomach and instead of stopping on the side of the road and calling help, he plotted a course to the nearest hospital (20 miles away) and turned “autopilot option” on. The car drove him safely to the hospital and the man just had to park the car and check himself into the hospital. Joshua suffered from pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs) which is very dangerous if it is not treated immediately. Tesla Model X actually saved a life! That is a big news.
Mitsubishi Sold to Nissan
Carlos Ghosn – Mitsubishi’s Savior Or Ruthless Businessman?
CEO of Renault and Nissan, Chairman of AvtoVAZ and Renault-Nissan Alliance has come to Japan, yet again, to cut some costs. This time he hasn’t come to Japan to have anything with Renault (which he helped save in 1990’s) or Nissan (which he rose from ashes in 2000’s) but, as we can all assume, to copy paste his strategy in a town called Mizushima.
Road So Far
Mitsubishi is in a great pile of trouble. The company made a huge mistake and lied to their customers about the fuel consumption in a number of models, including two it made for Nissan and together with those models it reached the number of over 600,000 cars. Fortunately, those cars were sold only in Japan, so it wasn’t a international scandal like in some other cases (VW). That scandal came to surface in April and since then, their share price has fallen about 40%.
The savior appeared and everyone in Mitsubishi cheered, until they found out the name of the savior.
Nissan made a dill and paid 1.5 billion pounds for 34% share, which gave the partial control over their smaller Japanese rival. That was fine, but the man they sent was not a good news for people living in industrial towns, dependent of Mitsubishi. Everyone in that area knows of Carlos Ghosn. They know about thousands of unemployed in the streets, after the intervention of Carlos Ghosn. His revival plan from 1999 included the closing of five Nissan’s factories, cutting approximately 14% of employees and shrinking their supplier ranks by half. But that had to be done.
Mitsubishi had some other scandals in the past, (early 2000’s, covering of safety defects – caused some fatal crashes) and people already know what to do, and to do that in time. For example, a little city of Soja, has already courted food companies to build factories in their town, just as a backup plan, in case that automobile industry fails.
Common People Suffers The Most
Ever since the “scandal” the shops related or connected to Mitsubishi are closing down and that caused the economic avalanche in that area. For example, in “the good times” there were shops with uniforms for the workers and fast food restaurants, but they don’t have any customers now, so they had to be closed. As a domino effect sea food, knitting and sewing, children’s toys and futons suppliers had to close too. Even karaoke bars are empty and ready to be rented.
Citizens of Mizushima and surrounding area are scared, and that is natural.
Suppliers are going to feel it first. Even now, at the beginning of everything, one of the suppliers, who asked to be anonymous, said that he cannot bring his finished components to Mitsubishi for the review like he did in the past. Nissan asked him to submit CAD renderings in advance. (computer assisted design). But he didn’t have that kind of a system, and even if he wanted to implement that kind of a system, he would have to spend additional 30 million yens and a couple of years to train his workers which is impossible. Instead he had to reform his company as a second tier company, which means that they would not be able to provide parts directly to the company, which again means that they will earn a lot less because of the “middle man”.
That is only one of the problems, and there will be lots more in the future. We could only take a look at the countries which went through all those cost savings, and people had to endure. There is place for fear, but not for any panic. Mitsubishi is in good hands, judging by the past.
Is The Fear Necessary?
I believe, and that is my own opinion, that Nissan is not going to hurt Mitsubishi. Those two companies were rivals, but I think that Ghosn doesn’t care about that at all. He is a true businessman and he actually knows what to do in problematic situations just like this one is. He is going to cut some unnecessary costs, sure, but he is not going to destroy Mitsubishi, but revive it in the best way he knows. Why? Because true businessmen doesn’t have emotions, but just smell of money running through their veins. Ghosn is going to order the sharing of platforms, engineering, engines, production facilities and parts. Ghosn himself has said that he sees billions of dollars in cooperation and purchasing, common platforms, cooperation in development and joint plant utilization but he was clear that Mitsubishi has total autonomy and that it won’t be controlled but rather supported by Nissan.
In the end Nissan and Mitsubishi are the main source of “mini cars” and that is the sort of a car that sells the most. So, sleep peacefully, Mizushima – Mitsubishi is going to shine yet again.
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