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Elon Musk's Autopilot Hype Fooled the U.S. Air Force into Buying a Tesla Model X

When Tesla first rolled out the Autopilot feature close to two years ago, the self-driving car appeared to be closer than ever. Thanks to some dodgy communication on the company's part and the countless videos of the EVs' owners monkeying around in their cars while they cruised on their own, some people actually thought it was already among us.
Tesla Model X by Novitec 12 photos
Tesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes MinimalistTesla Model X by Novitec Has Vossen Wheels, Goes Minimalist
Of course, that was exactly what led to Joshua Brown's demise, Tesla's split with Mobileye, it's new rhetoric on Autopilot, and the somewhat stricter conditions under which the new Teslas allow the users to operate the driver assist package.

Apparently, somebody at the U.S. Air Force got stuck in early 2016 when the common perception seemed to be that Tesla vehicles could drive by themselves. By now, we all know that not to be true, especially since Tesla ditched the Israeli company and decided to do everything by itself.

The latest vehicles using the alleged improved Autopilot II package suffer from plenty of issues, from jerky steering corrections to failures to stay in the lane despite clear markings on the road. The system is still rather unstable even though updates are constantly released and it will probably reach the desired functionality at some point.

Well, the U.S. Air Force either doesn't know that, or has complete trust in Tesla to figure the problem out quickly because it sent a solicitation for the acquisition of a Model X electric SUV to the California-based company. The requirements include the "Fully Self-Driving Capability," the towing package as well as three preferred color options - Dark Blue, Silver, or Black.

According to Electrek, the website that received the information from an undisclosed source, the vehicle would be used by the Department of Behavioral Science and Leadership, Trust, Automation and Human Machine Teaming Center to study the “interaction of human behaviors in relation to the operation of fully autonomous vehicles with advanced object detection and artificial intelligence systems.”

The USAF says it didn't particularly need an electric vehicle for the job, but rather it was the autonomous features that made the Model X the sole contender for the job. The Model S sedan was ruled out due to the mentioned towing needs.

The research looks "to determine whether or not all enhanced autopilot systems should still be considered a driver’s assistance feature, with the driver responsible for remaining in control of the car at all times.” Since it's a project ran by the military, we probably won't be kept in the loop with the findings, which is a shame because it sounds like there could be some interesting stuff.

That is, of course, if Tesla actually manages to bring the Model X up to the standards sought by the U.S. Air Force in due time. And that might prove tricky since the USAF looks to finalize the acquisition within a week and receive the car by the end of the following week. Well, at even if they don't use it for the intended purpose, at least it has Falcon Doors so there's some loose connection with the Air Force activity.

 
 
 
 
 

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