With every forward lurch in modern technology, our civilization tends to open itself up to new sorts of trouble as well – particularly when it comes to this new digital dimension that we’re largely operating in.
By moving banking and other activities to the internet, we’ve allowed hackers and other identity thieves tricky new ways to pry into our daily lives. Furthermore, the advent of low-grade artificial intelligence has begun to take over for some of our otherwise mechanical technologies…and that’s not always a good thing.
Take, for instance, terrifying new reports about high-tech vehicles from Tesla randomly braking and stopping without the owners’ input.
Some Tesla drivers say they’re experiencing an increase in “phantom braking,” in which their cars make random, jolting stops because they misinterpret hazards like trash on the road, trucks in nearby lanes and oncoming traffic on two-lane roads. 107 Tesla drivers have filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the past three months, according to federal data reviewed by The Washington Post. Only 34 complaints had been filed in the preceding 22 months.
“My wife has requested that I don’t use cruise control or autopilot while she’s in the car, as we experienced an unwarranted, aggressive automatic braking episode which caused great pressure against her pregnant belly on a previous road trip,” one driver said in their report.Trending:
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving tech has continued to be controversial and occasionally problematic, even as Elon Musk has touted the tech’s features and potential. Tesla recalled one iteration of the software in October after a surge in this so-called “phantom braking.” According to the Post, complaints have stayed elevated since the recall.
And this isn’t Tesla’s only issue at the moment.
Tesla also recalled 54,000 vehicles this week because a more aggressive Full Self-Driving mode allowed vehicles to roll through stop signs. The feature also warned that the car might “perform more frequent lane changes [and] will not exit passing lanes.”
As far as finding a culprit for the issue, Tesla has recently moved away from a radar-operated self-driving system and into one that relies on “Tesla Vision”: A series of in-car cameras that create a composite reality in which the vehicle makes decisions. The accounts of spooked drivers appears to have coincided with this change.