I just had a chat with Dr. Earl Banning, aka @28DelaysLater, who has had FSD Beta since November of last year. Earl recently wrote a Twitter thread which we will dive into momentarily. First, I wanted to share what he told me. Earl told me that his mother has multiple sclerosis and is unable to walk and that his father had back issues before he died. When his father was alive, his mother was unable to help drive him — and is still unable to drive today.
This technology that Tesla is developing will help people such as Earl’s parents if it reaches its desired level of autonomy. So, watching the media and hardcore critics tear down Tesla and the tech hurts. And I know it has to hurt Earl at times when he is personally attacked by Tesla’s extreme critics, who mostly base their theories on sheer hatred of Elon Musk. Some of those extreme critics have been supported by the NHTSA’s newly nominated safety advisor Missy Cummings.
Earl told me he has personally benefitted from FSD Beta, and that seeing this tech torn down is extremely painful.
1/10 Thoughts on autopilot and FSDBeta. The media has continued to exaggerate any Tesla fire, crash, autopilot incident, or negative tesla Twitter behavior while ignoring the facts behind Tesla safety and why Tesla has an enormous and growing fan base.
— 🐶 𝔼𝕒𝕣𝕝 of FrunkPuppy 🐶 (@28delayslater) October 23, 2021
In his full thread, which you can read here on Twitter, Earl said that the media continues to exaggerate any Tesla fire, crash, Autopilot incident, or other negative news story while completely ignoring the facts behind Tesla’s safety. The media also ignores the reason why Tesla has an enormous and growing fan base.
I think that the media does that last one intentionally. You see, they call us a cult of Elon or Tesla, and this is a brilliant move if you want to paint a narrative. The audience here is anti-Tesla critics, and by painting Tesla’s customers and fans as a radicalized cult, the media is using a psychological tactic used to dehumanize an opponent, making that opponent easier to target. And please note that by “the media” here we are focused on the industry of negative clickbait material that is almost continuously published about Tesla. We are not bashing every single writer, reporter, or journalist, and not even extending beyond this matter of Tesla.
Earl shared that as soon as he received his Model 3 in 2018, he couldn’t wait for his cameras to calibrate so he could use Autopilot.
“Since then the tech has improved dramatically. I quickly got into a habit of using the tech whenever it was available. 90+% of my commute and most of long trips.”
Earl often drives from Ohio to Pennsylvania, and when he started using Autopilot, the trip became much easier. He would arrive with no fatigue and in a better mood. He added that it buffers the health effects of driving while sharing a link to a study titled, “Driving: A Road to Unhealthy Lifestyles and Poor Health Outcomes.” The study noted that driving is a potential risk factor for a cluster of health behaviors and outcomes among middle-aged to older adults.
On many occasions, Autopilot reacted a split second before Earl did. It saved him from an accident at least twice. In one case, a car slammed on its brakes ahead of him. In another, a tractor-trailer swerved into his lane.
“AP protected my family. I’ve seen this in person.”
Earl has been using FSD Beta for almost a year now and he uses it almost all the time. He pointed out that he gets the benefits of Autopilot’s safety 10% of the time and that he routinely uses it with his children in the car.
“I’m a better driver with tech.”
His 9-year-old daughter also shared her thoughts in the video below. In the video, they were testing FSD Beta 10.1 and he explained to his daughter what Tesla’s new Safety Score does. His daughter said:
“I think that it’s nice that it drives itself. I’m glad that you can take it over and that it has safety stuff so that you have to keep your hands on the wheel just in case you really need to take over because the car sometimes is not — it’ll get like ‘Oh, should I stop, should I go? This thing is close but is it close enough for me to stop? Or should I keep going; should I slow down? What am I supposed to be doing?'”
Earl spoke about drivers abusing Autopilot as well and noted that, yes, some do abuse it, but drivers also abuse lane assist, drive drunk, text and drive, and so on.
“Some text. Some are angry, suicidal, depressed, tired…. Each day we lose lives to traffic crashes. AP addresses the human factor by adding tech but is LV2.
“But to highlight the rare AP crash is usually for clicks or pushed by those betting against tesla. It’s not about safety. It’s about $.
“So when Cummings was given an oversight job, many were concerned. She blocks tesla fans and spends time tweeting $TSLAQ material. I’ve read her AP research and as an AP user for years, her research is trash.”
Earl added that if Autopilot is removed, some Tesla owners and passengers will needlessly die and that the statistics support this. Would Earl and his family become those statistics?
“Who will it be? Me? My family? Someone I know? This is a reality. That angers me. This is about safety.
“So again the media twists the story to smear Tesla fans as angry and irrational and pretending to care about safety. I’m not having it. This is nonsense. I hope the media covers the full story, but I’m not naive.”
Earl also added that the media has ignored and continues to ignore the ongoing attacks on Tesla’s owners/supporters’ Twitter accounts. This is true and I have personally been attacked. I have been called names, told to go kill myself, and I don’t even have a Tesla yet! I’ve been mocked, and one particular nasty account that some of the media have cited as an actual source has personally attacked me several times.
The reason for much of this is power and control. Elon Musk is like a natural disaster for many in the industry that are in high places today. Tesla technology is revolutionary.