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11.16.18
Advanced Transport

The Digest: Elon Musk Says Autopilot Is Getting a “Mad Max” Option

June 26th 18__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Advanced Transport
Warner Brothers/Tesla/Victor Tangermann

FURIOSA ON THE FREEWAY. On Sunday, Elon Musk tweeted that the Tesla Semi’s Autopilot system will include a “Mad Max mode.” He shared a photo, presumably of the vehicle’s control panel, with “Standard,” “Aggressive,” and “Mad Max” included as the three options beneath the Blind Spot Threshold category.

Musk didn’t explain exactly how this Mad Max mode would work or whether it would be an option for all Teslas or just the Semi. Tesla declined Business Insider’s request for comment, as well.

NEW LIMITS FOR SAFETY? Tesla’s Autopilot system includes cameras that monitor rear blind spots to determine when it’s safe for the vehicle to change lanes or merge into traffic. Blind Spot Threshold likely refers to the parameters needed before the vehicle will make this move. Presumably, the car would have a bit more leeway in deciding what it considers “safe” in Aggressive and Mad Max mode than in Standard.

WALKING DRIVING AWAY FROM A FIGHT. In a follow-up tweet, Musk noted that self-driving cars will be easy for human drivers to “bully” because the autonomous vehicle will always yield. He suggested the need for some sort of manual override that would give Autopilot passengers the option to make aggressive lane changes when necessary.

A manual override is one thing. But given that the primary selling point of autonomous cars is their safety, it’s hard to make the argument that we need to encourage them to be more aggressive. According to AAA, aggressive driving of some sort plays a role in more than half of fatal driving accidents, and we want our autonomous cars to be better than us, not just as bad, right?

READ MORE: Elon Musk Teases a ‘Mad Max’ Mode for Tesla Autopilot [Business Insider]