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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on January 24th, 2020 | by Johnna Crider


Poor Man’s Autopilot: Where Is The Outrage?

January 24th, 2020 by  

In a video titled “Poor Man’s Autopilot,” the owner of an i3 with the ability to do self-parking and adaptive cruise control explains how to mimic Tesla’s Autopilot. To be honest, anyone who can afford an i3 isn’t really poor. The 2020 BMW i3 starts at $44,450 — you could have an actual Tesla for that price with real Autopilot.

The video shows you exactly how to rig an i3 up to drive on “autopilot,” and the user points out that, “If you’re not comfortable doing this, find a local BMW shop to do this for you.” This is one of quite a few of these types of videos.

So, how safe is this? First, I don’t think anyone has the advanced technology Tesla has when it comes to semi-autonomous driving abilities. Otherwise, there’d be a lot more enthusiasm about their products.

I mean, if we could make all these vehicles self-driving, that would be great, but I just wanted to ask a question: Where is Senator Markey’s outrage? Where’s the outrage from Tesla haters on Twitter who are always looking for something to be outraged about?

I mean, if they can do this safely, pay attention to their surroundings, and not get into accidents, I’m fine with it personally — but the bias against Tesla whenever a Tesla driver does something like this has to be addressed.

You can’t demand Tesla shut down Autopilot and then look the other away when owners of other car brands have “how-to” videos on hacking their cruise control and their cars turning into “autonomous vehicles.”

Senator Markey probably hasn’t seen this, but he should see it, and then should consider if his position against Tesla Autopilot isn’t biased.

In another “how-to” video, BingH0st, a verified YouTube channel with 150,000 subscribers, shows you how to “trick the active lane assist of an Audi A6” with a bottle of water and adaptive cruise control to get “a self-driving car.” Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot, this will not warn you when it needs you to take over. You’ll just crash if you’re not paying attention.

In a video titled “Self driving car/ life hack active lane assist,” a YouTuber uploads another “how-to” video to trick the active lane assist of a Volkswagen Tiguan with a bottle of water. And in this video, which has had almost 550,000 views, the YouTuber uses what looks like an energy drink to make their 2014 Mercedes S-Class into an “autonomous driving” vehicle. Where is the outrage?

While Senator Markey thinks that Tesla’s Autopilot should be disabled, he has been silent when it comes to these other guys doing the same thing with less advanced tech that wasn’t made for the same level autonomous driving.

Then we have Nissan marketing it’s ProPILOT Assist in a Star Wars–themed ad. Rey closes her eyes and drives through a construction zone.

The idea of a “poor man’s Autopilot” makes it seem like Tesla is the most expensive of these vehicles, yet all of these vehicles in these “how-to” videos are either equal to or higher in price than a Tesla, so the idea of poor man’s Autopilot is highly deceptive. 


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About the Author

is a Baton Rouge artist, gem, and mineral collector, member of the International Gem Society, and a Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter

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