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Make the safest car ever, even safer... How??

Open Letter to Tesla Engineers:

It seems to me that with any new technology there are benefits and unexpected side effects. Take the invention of the automobile. Sure we get from point A to point B a whole lot faster than ever before, but road traffic accidents also represents the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24 (http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa-cause-of-death-by-age-and-gender).

I can see how a negligent driver could use the added torque irresponsabily. And even though in a Tesla Model S the driver and his passengers would likely survive and walk away from a severe accident as has been demostrated by recent reports, the main question I would like ask is: "What could be incorporated into all Teslas that would reduce or elimiante the Tesla driver from causing an accident?"

I believe Tesla's software provides a platform for developing a whole new field of safety measures that can be incorporated into every vehicle.

As an example, consider three things a Tesla vehicle would do when the vehicle is in "Safe Driver Mode".

In "SAFE DRIVER MODE" :

1) An embedded cabin breathalyser would limit the vehicles top speed and torque or completely prevent the car from moving.

2) Irradic acceleration patterns perhaps coupled with late night/early morning times (say Sunday 12am - 4 am) would limit the vehicles top speed and torque.

3) Ran stop signs would provide a warning. Multiple ran stop signs would limit top speed and torque. How to detect stop signs? In collaboration with Google, map all stop signs, and use onboard GPS to determine if the driver at the very least attempted to slow down at a stop sign.

Maybe these ideas are way out there. But if you want to make the safest car ever even safer, the vehicle should detect human driving and compensate accordingly.

-gc

how about a on-board fire suppressant system ......that could be used to stop battery fires

I'll opt out of the safe driver mode.
Too big brother for me. One brother is enough.

According to the IIHS, “Forward collision avoidance and adaptive headlights are reducing insurance claims.” See here, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/crash-avoidance-technologies/topicover... .
Additional safety features such as autobrake, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, and blind spot detection are highlighted here, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/crash-avoidance-features .

The really big one that may be mandated in the next few years is V2X. The NTSB had recommended it and the NHTSA is currently finishing a large scale trial of the technology in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Once the results are analyzed, a decision on whether to issue a mandate is expected soon afterwards. See here, http://www.its.dot.gov/safety_pilot/ and here http://stnw.nhtsa.gov/safercar/ConnectedVehicles/index.html .

Some proponents are claiming a accident reduction rate of 80% with the wide-scale adoption of V2X but I find that number a bit too optimistic. Mercedes is even looking to retrofit existing cars for V2X.

TM has surrounded each cell with a fire-suppressant goop that expands and isolates the cell when heated. It is very hard for fire to spread through a Tesla battery.

@Concas - the Model S comes with the worlds best driver assistance package and it is called "pay attention stupid" - and it is standard equipment no extra cost.
What you are really promoting with your suggestions is a free ticket to irresponsible driving.

Eliminate the driver.

Tiebreaker;
Are you suggesting un-safety features?

+1 Kleist

Too many lazy drivers already.

I think Tiebreaker is signaling his support for Tesla's autonomous car.

Wear a helmet.

Interesting ideas. Your proposal is different to the ones normally pushed - essentially score the driver generally to see if they're making mistakes, and limit the car in certain situations.

For many people it wouldn't affect their driving at all, so could be considered a waste of time. And for people who drive badly after midnight hooning around town they don't want a car that limits them.

But Tesla is already talking about a 'valet mode' that limits performance. I can imagine an owner wanting to limit car performance for other drivers (like their kids) ONLY WHEN they're driving in a possibly less safe manner - and get a report on lower driver ability too.

How to make the safest car even safer? Don't drive it, then you will statistically never get into a crash in it :)

Surrounded with several separate concrete walls, to prevent penetration by other drunk-driven MSes.

Did not know that each battery cell is surrounded with fire suppressant goop.... good idea.. which has not worked very well so far
.... but nice to know its there

How do you know it has not worked? As far as I know there are only two reported fires, both after absolutely insane damage to battery, and the one which has been linked here only small part of the front of the battery was on fire. There are tens of thousands of Tesla cars already in the streets, and quite a few accidents have already happened.

Stop signs don't need to be GPS mapped. By definition they should be easily recognizable features day or night for a forward camera with even basic scene feature recognition software. These are red octagons with the word STOP in bold white letters, made of reflective materials and always facing the approaching car.

So blow past say three stop signs in a row and have your max speed limited? Or even your acceleration rate? Yeah, I think that's worth looking into. Has to be done just right though.

Read this article, Roads Gone Wild, and think how it applies to your suggestion. Ironically I don't think your idea would make a Tesla safer, instead it might actually make it more dangerous.

@Homebrook - so true. Less is actually more. Thanks for the article.

Great article! "Chaos = Cooperation". Must-read.

↑ robo-spam

What if you're trying to outrun a bad guy.....or angry ex-wife.....do you want your car to slow you down? I'm with Captain_Zap...too big brother for me.

Concas;
"Irradic" = Erratic??

The "Roads Gone Wild" is a much better idea. Minimize rules and controls, provide info to drivers and rely on co-operation and intelligence (rather than making restraints the enemy of the drivers).

I have driven on "relaxed rules roads" in Djibouti Africa. It is NOT a fun experience. The main road I took had 4 lanes across, divided only by dashed white lines. There can, and were 4 cars across driving in the same direction at times, and the oncoming traffic was essentially forced off the road in order to avoid a head-on collision.

At intersections, some would stop, others would not, so you NEVER know what to expect from other drivers at an intersection, and there is no recourse if they happen to hit you, because there was no traffic violation. Did you stop at the intersection ? Well, someone may just slam into the back of your car because they didn't expect you to stop. Also, do you stop and wait till the intersection is clear before proceeding ? Who knows if the traffic in the other direction will stop or not. If they do, when is it appropriate to go ? If they don't, then other drivers behind them will see that no one is stopping, so you could be waiting a long time for a brake in traffic. What if one person in that direction stops to let you go, but the person behind them figures stopping is not in their best interest so they drive around them and continue through the intersection (which can and does happen) hitting you now that you thought you had a chance ? The accident is their fault, AND your fault, no matter what. You are responsible for repairs to your car even though their poor driving decisions are what caused it.

* a break in traffic

Relaxed rules, not rules at all (as it looks like in your scenario)

Humans are quite good at recognizing many signs, but poor at detecting bazillion signs at the same time in one intersection. Too many signs just confuses the poor human behind the wheel. What helps is reducing all those "go there, this line, this speed, don't go that way, this and that distance to destination etc." in intersections.

I think experience with rule-roads first might make drivers more willing to accept "unspoken rules". Sounds like Djibouti lacked that preparation.

Thing is, after a decade of no-rules, even roads that once had rules will have forgotten them, since new drivers are being added to the mix every day.

I agree with @Timo, that relaxed rules would be great (assuming much better driver training and testing is in-place to teach the rules that aren't on the signs), but removing all signs and rules as the link suggests, would be a disaster.

@Haeze
saved yourself from Brian on the misspelling of break.
I live in Southern California which is full of immigrants like me who think that road signs are suggestions only, and may the smartest man win. And to think I came here to escape that!

Ranjit;
You should all be jailed. >:p


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