An assertive driving mode has been added to Tesla’s automatic driver assist technology. The setting will follow other vehicles more closely, change lanes more frequently, avoid leaving the overtaking lane, and perform rolling stops.
Human driver behavior like this is frequently criticized by safety organizations. However, one automobile safety expert feels that rather than being overly cautious, it is sometimes preferable for an automated system to be more assertive, akin to a human driver.
In Tesla’s October update, the three driving profiles – calm, average, and forceful – were added for the first time. However, due to other concerns, that update was shortly pulled, but the driving profiles feature has now been restored.
The Verge was the first to report on a screenshot of a tweet from David Zipper, a technology writer and visiting fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.
Is it safe?
The list of behaviors has been criticized by some social media users as being dangerous.
However, Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research in the United Kingdom believes that well-designed autonomous systems are theoretically safer than human drivers since they eliminate human mistakes. As a result, if a more forceful driving style encourages more drivers to employ self-driving systems than a more cautious style, the net gain in safety may be positive.
“If we want mass acceptance of automation, drivers would expect the vehicle to do and make the decisions that a human driver would make, not some benign and safe algorithm,” he said.
Human drivers frequently come to a stalemate, such as when one must pull over in a single-lane country road or at a four-way intersection, and one must make the first move. Two exceedingly cautious automated automobiles may both wait for the other to act before taking action.
Mr. Avery explained, “This is what the manufacturers are attempting to figure out right now.” “So, a degree of being slightly less careful is a positive thing if it means more people use the systems more often because they feel they’re more human-like.”
However, he cautioned that it will depend on how “aggressive” the system is and that it must avoid aggressive driving.
“There’s a narrow line between assertive and aggressive,” he added, “but there are scenarios where automation following some very basic guidelines will eventually sort of halt because it can’t progress.”
Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” function is presently only available as part of a limited test in the United States.
However, in the United States, where people drive on the right, numerous states have made it unlawful to leave the right lane unless overtaking. Similarly, the Highway Code in the United Kingdom states that drivers should always stay in the left lane unless overtaking and should return to the left lane when it is safe to do so.
Tesla’s so-called complete self-driving technology has drawn a lot of attention, with crashes and events involving the technology receiving a lot of media attention.