Bloomberg is out with the latest part of their Model 3 survey, and it’s a good one. There’s lots of interesting info and comments from the survey included, but the most important takeaway is that 9 out of 10 Autopilot users feel safer because of the technology. This technology is not just about convenience: It’s quickly becoming as essential as the seatbelt.
Most people who criticize Tesla Autopilot as unsafe have never tried it, or are worried they’re going to be destroyed financially when this transformative technology matures. This is only natural: It will be the single biggest disruption in economic history. Sorry shawties, but you can’t stop this train. It’s full steam ahead, and people who’ve actually used this technology love it.
That’s the single biggest factor in which self driving system will be a success. Do consumers want it? For Tesla Autopilot, the answer is a resounding yes. For competitors like Waymo, customers are not so happy. After you’ve read the survey feedback from Tesla customers, read the survey feedback that Waymo customers sent in. It’s so bad, it’s funny.
Best Lines from Bloomberg Survey of Model 3 Customers
A driver from Florida reported an experience of inexplicable braking by the Autopilot feature on his Model 3. An instant later, the vehicle ahead swerved out of the lane to reveal a stopped car. Tesla’s sensors had detected the upcoming hazard and acted without human input to avert a crash.Bloomberg
13% of owners say Autopilot has put them in a dangerous situation
28% say Autopilot has saved them from a dangerous situationBloomberg
It moved me to the side in the blink of an eye when a car suddenly changed lanes to where I was… The Autopilot reacted crazy fast.Bloomberg
Tesla owners in Bloomberg’s survey for the most part side with Musk’s approach, even when Autopilot occasionally screws up.Bloomberg
“The car detected a pile-up in fog and applied the brakes/alerted driver and began a lane change to avoid it before I took over. I believe it saved my life.”Driver from California who rates Autopilot’s overall safety ★★★★★
“A deer jumped in front of me on a dark road at night. By the time my foot moved to the brake pedal, it was already pressed to the floor!”Driver from Colorado who rates Autopilot’s overall safety ★★★★☆
“Car entered my lane and I did not notice. Autopilot took over and alerted me quickly. It maneuvered out of the way and saved us from a wreck going 80 mph.”Driver from Missouri who rates Autopilot’s overall safety ★★★★★
“Whiteout conditions. Lake effect snow in Cleveland. Streets were extremely icy. A crossing car ran a red light going 45 mph at a blind intersection obscured by trees and the Model 3 automatically stopped before I could react. I missed a driver side collision, potentially fatal, by less than a car length.”Driver from Ohio who rates Autopilot’s overall safety ★★★★★
Best Lines from Waymo Survey of Customers
In about 46% of Waymo’s Phoenix trips and 39% of its Silicon Valley–based trips analyzed by The Information, passengers described their rides as “smooth” in their feedback to WaymoThe Information
So.. this means that 61% of trips in Silicon Valley and 54% of trips in Phoenix are not “smooth”? That means more likely than not your trip is not going to be smooth. Does that sound like something customers are going to pay for?
In 10% of the Phoenix rides and 25% of the Silicon Valley rides, passengers reported feeling “uncomfortable” or complained about “jerky” steering and “hard braking,” “cautious” driving by the vehicle, or “accelerating too quickly.” Said a Waymo rider in Mountain View, who is also an employee: “Excessive braking for almost the entire ride. I got very carsick. Almost pressed the pullover button so I could barf.”The Information
Wow, a self-barfing car. Google has truly done it this time
One recent Phoenix rider said their Waymo van “proceeded to do an emergency brake style stop and send all of us slamming into our seatbelts. It caused quite a bit of pain from being whiplashed forwards unexpectedly. I am pregnant and am concerned with how hard it was slamming on the brakes for no reason at all. My husband is also an early rider and said that this was the worst ride he’d taken.”The Information
When you’re not in control of the car, any ride could be the worst ride you’ve ever taken.
In about 7% of all rides, the vehicles either didn’t pick up or drop off passengers in the requested locations—or both. In some cases, the vehicles were off by 50 feet, and in at least one case, a van dropped off a rider in Tempe, Ariz., a half-mile from where they expected to be let off.The Information
Take a ride in a Waymo! It will sometimes drop you off near your destination!
Another Phoenix-area rider, who said she was “vision impaired,” said she was picked up by a van from the grocery store with 40 pounds of groceries. But she was dropped off nearly a quarter-mile from her home—the intended destination. She wrote: “It’s not even on the same…road. Right now it is 97 degrees and 45 percent humidity and it took me almost 15 minutes with FORTY POUNDS OF GROCERIES to get home. I had to stop 3 times to rest. It’s been about 15 minutes since I got home and I’m STILL [pouring] sweat. You HAVE to let your drivers override the car in situations like this. I’m 53 years old and this is DANGEROUS.”The Information
Please note that Waymo is widely regarded as the leader in self-driving by morons.
Getting stuck: In about 2.5% of Phoenix rides and 6.5% of Silicon Valley rides, Waymo vehicles stood still for a long period of time before either the human driver took over or a Waymo representative monitoring the vehicle from a remote location helped the car figure out how to start moving again. One Waymo rider who preferred to remain anonymous told The Information that during three trips in one week this summer, the Waymo vehicle got stuck each time. Another rider, Kelly Carrizosa, a Phoenix-area school district administrator, told The Information she sat for 15 minutes in a stopped Waymo van that was paralyzed, she said, because it seemed to believe a tree branch was a car.The Information
Well, that shouldn’t be a big deal as long as you don’t care about arriving at your destination on time.
Rerouted several times along the way, adding 20 minutes to an 18 minute driveThe Information
Several passengers noted that the vehicle didn’t seem to be able to drive autonomously while it was raining outside. Even light rain seemed to cause problems, as did puddles that collected on roads after rain. Said a Phoenix rider about their van: “Couldn’t handle the water on the side of the road as we drove in the right lane…and it suddenly turned right and almost ran itself onto the sidewalk and then the [human backup] driver had to take over.”The Information
Imagine if your car stopped working every time it rained, or even if there was a puddle on the floor. Well, uhh might be useful for Phoenix… sometimes?
The service is great because it’s free but two out of my four rides have had problems and if I had to pay for them I would [rather] probably use a service like LyftWaymo Ride in Phoenix, via The Information
And there’s the kicker folks. Fully autonomous services today are worse than Lyft, but the cars are so expensive they need to be priced higher to be profitable. And Uber and Lyft are not even close to profitable at current pricing.
In other words, it’s very hard to see a viable path to market for LIDAR based Level 5 autonomous robotaxis any time soon. It’s just not going to happen.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s iterative approach is showing real results, saving real peoples lives today, and is starting to make more and more sense to people who are paying attention.
Most people still haven’t woken up to the self-driving revolution that is happening at Tesla with Autopilot. But with stories like this Bloomberg survey, and other stories on the subject, people are starting to realize what’s happening: We’re watching the birth of a technology that will fundamentally transform the world as we know it. Just like the smartphone revolution 10 years ago, the way things were done pre-Autopilot will soon seem like a curious relic of ancient history.