Phantom braking can it be solved?

tesla model x brake light
Photo by Szymon Kita on Unsplash

Phantom Braking can it be solved? It seems that in recent years the introduction of the intelligent vehicle has been seen as a victory for the motor vehicle industry.

Sensors

The introduction provides increased safety and awareness for and around the vehicle. Using sensors, cameras and in some cases Radar or LIDAR to map the world around it the car is able to perform with greater accuracy and capability. 

The introduction of sensors to vehicles has been reserved for the higher end of the market, up till now. Due to the prices of these components coming down and technology advancing at an exponential rate the sensors are starting to be more present in less expensive models.  

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Tesla autopilot

self driving

Tesla introduced its first iteration of “Autopilot” several years ago. Since its inception and introduction to the family of Tesla vehicles, Autopilot has been applauded for its ability to manage highway driving with little intervention. Many have reported their fondness of the capability and how it makes long road trips more enjoyable. 

As a result of the new capabilities, Tesla has been proud to show that its vehicles with the use of Autopilot have increased the distance collectively between accidents.  This fact highlights the increased safety aspects which have been introduced. 

However, since the introduction of the self-driving capabilities the issue of Phantom Braking has in parallel been increasing. 

Phantom Braking

bridge underpass
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Phantom braking occurs when a vehicle being managed by Artificial Intelligence, or autopilot in Tesla’s case, suddenly and abruptly decelerates. This sudden loss in acceleration is unexplained and inconsistent in most cases. 

As you probably have determined this puts the driver and passengers in danger including the vehicles around it. The vehicles travelling behind suddenly have to contend with an unexpected slowing of the vehicle in front. These usually occur when the vehicle is travelling at speed. This increases the chances of accidents and injury. 

Online there are numerous on social media that state the cause of accidents seems to be attributed to the phantom braking phenomenon.  

In the case of Tesla, and if Phantom braking can it be solved, it would seem this is an active problem they are attempting to solve. This week there has been a discussion on twitter regarding this very thing. Elon tweeted regarding the introduction of the new build Full Self Driving (FSD). He was responding to a tweet discussing the WAYMO approach. He mentioned that it would be beta released in a number of weeks. 

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As part of responses, I asked Elon Musk “Is the issue of phantom braking fixed in this release? Has been a number of people talking about this recently.” https://twitter.com/EVHQ2/status/1314287584105779200

Elon was kind enough to respond to me on twitter at EV-HQ.com by stating “It should be” he then followed up with some clarification

It is encouraging to see that Tesla is actively working to resolve issues like Phantom braking. What’s important is they are not just waiting for big releases like FSD. It makes sense considering not every driver has FSD as it is an opt-in function.

 It would also seem that Elon understands the issues of his company and is actively working to resolve them. His engagement with twitter followers shows he is kind enough to respond to people asking about the latest information.  

This twitter response gained momentum over the next couple of days which just highlights the importance this issue has for people.

Software updates

Phantom braking can it be solved? It would seem that the release of the upcoming software updates that drop regularly has bug fixes to address the phantom braking. The latest release may have some of those fixes but there are still reports that it is occurring. 

Let’s hope that phantom braking will become a thing of the past. Let’s hope that the use of “First Principles” can assist to find a solution to the immediate and long-term problem. 

Safety has always been at the heart of the Tesla Vehicles. Elon Musk has been very clear on this point. It is up to the manufacturers to make sure that the occupants of their vehicles remain safe and sound for their journey. 

It is refreshing to see that Tesla is working to find solutions. Tesla is actively trying to find solutions to issues that have been created by the introduction of information technology devices. 

The best advice you can hear if you love your tesla but feel unsure about the use of the autopilot system is to drive the car yourself. enjoy the experience without the use of autopilot or FSD. The cars are incredible to experience and fun to drive. 

Dave 

David McCann
David McCann

EV_HQ founder

DAVE’S Blog posts

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