First Human Death in Self-Driving Car: “Not Sophisticated Enough” for Bright Blindness

by | Jul 1, 2016 | Conspiracy Fact and Theory | 52 comments

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    The first death has been reported in self-driving cars. Our worst fears about artificial intelligence are already beginning to come true.

    A test man working with Tesla motors was killed after the autopilot feature failed to see a bright-white 18-wheeler which was poorly contrast against the bright lit sky.

    It is unfortunate, and spooky, since white is the most common color for tractor trailers, and the big rigs account for the most deadly accidents. One wonders how a tiny, smart car making decisions of a computer would stand up to such a vehicle.

    Not “sophisticated enough to overcome blindness from bright or low contrast light.” Videographers know how easily blown-out light that is too bright can ruin an otherwise well composed shot. Cameras can do a lot, but digital sensors aren’t usually good at compensating for this issue.

    And it happens to be reason this man got killed, as Yahoo! reports:

    The U.S. announced Thursday the first fatality in a wreck involving a car in self-driving mode, the 40-year-old owner of a technology company who nicknamed his vehicle “Tessy” and had praised its sophisticated “Autopilot” system just one month earlier for preventing a collision on an interstate. The government said it is investigating the design and performance of the system aboard the Tesla Model S sedan.

    Joshua D. Brown, of Canton, Ohio, died in the accident May 7 in Williston, Florida, when his car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes, according to government records obtained Thursday.


    The technology relies on multiple cameras, radar, laser and computers to sense objects and determine if they are in the car’s way, said Mike Harley, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book. Systems like Tesla’s, which rely heavily on cameras, “aren’t sophisticated enough to overcome blindness from bright or low contrast light,” he said.

    This time, it wasn’t human error.

    Let that sink in.

    On the other hand, according to the report from the truck driver who collided with the vehicle, the man was not only asleep at the wheel, but watching a DVD or Harry Potter at the time of the crash:

    Frank Baressi, 62, the driver of the truck and owner of Okemah Express LLC, said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” at the time of the crash and driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

    “It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road,” Baressi told The Associated Press

    Wow. And you think others will be paying attention when they get behind the wheel of these things?

    Neither parts of this techno-tragedy bode well for the future.

    People are quick to turn themselves over to conveniences and gadgets, and many will happily put their lives in the hands of these vehicles.

    But technology, no matter how sophisticated, can’t directly interpret reality.

    And cold hard reality is just what this car crashed into, and the sensors didn’t catch it.

    A few months ago, a Google self-driving car had the industry’s first car accident.

    Google Self-Driving Car Causes Accident For The First Time

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      1. Please, please tell me that there aren’t enough people stupid enough to get in these fucking things? Wait a minute, that is a rhetorical question,alas, because the sheep will do any thing if it is made to look pleasurable….ay yi yi, unbelieveable.

        • The same thing will happen with conventional cars that are “smart” enough to sense objects and apply the brakes. People will count on the car to look out for them, with predictable results. Watch the car commercials. They actually promote not paying attention.

        • Tell Obuma to send some self driving cars to the islamic savages in isis instead of the trucks he’s sent before. That should dwindle their numbers down a bit. They’ll be waving their weapons around smiling evilly while their own vehicles crash and kill them.

          • Better yet, give all the scum politicians in DC a self driving car. Their last taxpayer freebie.

            • I like that idea!

      2. I’m not glad to see this man killed, but glad to slow down acceptance of a technology designed to keep people from being able to drive freely. Obviously, a car controlled outside the drivers power to decide puts him in the position of being a passenger. He is stripped of self determination. I am not having it and if you’re smart, neither will you.

        • B from CA, excellent point. Whoever else has these Tesla POS needs to get something else ASAP. This tragedy is a wake-up call to stop this technology. Artificial intelligence? I say it’s REAL STUPIDITY.

        • In a nutshell???? HE WAS A DUMBASS!

      3. Bad enough humans drive crappy…

        • Yeah… Too many fingers on the controls!!!

      4. It reminds me of a joke about a man who was in an accident with a motor home. The patrolman asked him how the accident happened. The man said he had no idea. He said he’d set the cruise control and gone back into the kitchen to make a sandwich.

      5. Bet the “calm cooling voice” was that of a woman! Take Back Control.

      6. Sure, let’s let machines rule the world, what could possibly go wrong?

        We don’t know what it is we don’t know. In the U.K. a ‘self learning’ robot escaped and went ‘walk-about’ when someone left the gate open. It was recaptured when the battery ran down. A short time later, it escaped again and there are calls to dismantle it. Quote; “the other robots did not escape, so we need to destroy this one.” Meanwhile, somewhere in the EU, robots are being declared ‘Electronic Persons’. I guess that means that they can vote and presumable move to any country they wish!

        What could possibly go wrong?

      7. These morons should a chauffeur if they’re going to be so lazy.

      8. Note to Tesla: I am NOT going to get in any car that is using Windows 98 as the operating system!! Make Bill Gates use it.

      9. What if the car decided to commit suicide after its warrantee ended? Gulp!

        • Great point !
          All cars do !

          • I’d hate to think what happens if an “smart” car comes down with a case of depression or worse, self awareness.

      10. Years ago we were shown and told how “in future” we would be flying around in our flying saucers, just like the Jetsons.

        There would be no more wars, no more hunger, no more stupidity.

        Guess what, Folks? If you believe all this manure from the “Utopia-bringers,” you will wind up like this guy–dead as a mackerel.

        “Open the pod bay doors, HAL. HAL.”

        GET REAL! The world is on fire and it’s coming your way.

      11. If I drank half a gallon of homemade hooch and poured the other half into my self-driving vehicle would the car be charged with DUI?

        • You will be charged.
          The car cant pay fines and restitution .

      12. Sorry goes that the guy was watching a movie on a DVR, and didn’t react in time.

        This technology is too new, and we will have more.


        • Sarge, if that’s true about the guy watching a movie then he brought it on himself. Wait until you get home to watch a movie.

        • Especially since Tesla states that this technology is not a replacement for a driver who is overseeing what is going on. It is still only meant as an enhancement to help avoid accidents you don’t see coming. This isn’t the only time Teslas have had issues with the autopilot system due to negligent operators, just the first time it has resulted in a fatality. The fact that this guy fell asleep watching a movie shows just how ignorant he was of the limitations of the system.

      13. This is why God invented trains?

        I mean.

        The more complicated you make it the more ways it can go wrong, right?

        Why are you beating your head into solving a problem that was adequately solved 150 years ago?

      14. Wonder how many people died in car accidents the same day that were not self drivers?

        • A bunch, but I’d rather have some control of my reaction to a potentially fatal accident. Our minds can process variables these machines will never be able to. You really need a conscience to drive and most people have one, even if we make some mistakes. Fuck self driving cars. A real sheeple-mobile.

      15. Sorta like what has happened over the years. The government was put on auto pilot and the governed sat back without taking an active part to weed out the bad AI’s at the wheel. We now have an AI at the wheel that is totally dedicated to our destruction. Sorta like Skynet living inside the scum in DC they want you dead or controlled. Like this situation most citizens are sitting back watching sports or whatever, and the car is being driven over the cliff with the pavement ape in charge grinning the whole way down. Perhaps like driving we need to put the reins back in our hands and out of the hands of those who desire our demise. I’d walk before getting into one of these AI controlled vehicles or accept anything this AI government says.

      16. Look at commercial airplanes today. Highly automated. Typically one in three landings are “autoland” hands off landings. Most all flights are flown on autopilot from shortly after takeoff to landing and full stop. It has gotten so automated that when something goes wrong the pilots don’t know what to do anymore. Asiana in SF, Air France mid-Atlantic are examples of how to break perfectly good airplanes.
        It took years to get airplanes to be this safe and reliable. It is very expensive, very regulated, and it was a long and deadly learning curve to get where we are.
        Only a fool would think that overnight, you can get a self driving car. Just like airplanes, a lot of people will die before we get to a high degree of safe operation.
        I volunteer Democrat earth worshiping, tree huggers to take the lead and show us the way to driving utopia.

        • Take off and landing on controlled strips and cruising through the air with the aid of controllers on the ground are far cries from being on the road with thousands of other vehicles in close proximity with absolutely unpredictable dynamics. No comparison.

          • The Main reason I bought my Z-06 Vette is because it is simply a FUN car to Drive period…I have more real fun driveing it than ANY other vehicle I ever owned inlcudeing various 1970’s type mussel cars and all types pick up trucks.

            There would be Zero real Fun involved in driveing if cars were all mandated by fed law to be self driven cars like that tesla is…NO thanks! I prefer loads of real Fun driveing experiences to any such self driven cars or robot driven cars.

            I also aint too thrilled of driveing around with Other drivers useing such self driven cars either.

            Maybe I can live long enough to some day see a total End of Busy bodies libs and bleeder heart altruistic minded clown libs always trying to force their fraud idas of “happy” on the rest of us all eh?..

      17. technology can be dangerous
        or rather the IDIOTS that use it

        almost broad sided a car this morning
        driver was apparently taking an important call from the Prez
        when she pulled out in front of me
        good thing one of us was actually “driving”

        couple of weeks ago I was just about to pull off the road ,pull out the cell phone and call the State Troopers
        was behind a mini van driving ERRATICALLY
        all over the road,back and forth
        I thought the driver was drunk thats how bad it was
        I got a little closer and could see the driver,with a van full of little kids was on her damn cell phone

        • Sure , call the state government and beg for intervention .
          Please …………

        • Satori, whenever I’m driving, I have a Bluetooth connected to my phone for hands-free use. I play it safe.

        • Satori, they were already idiots before the Teslas came along. The Teslas only made them worse.

      18. Between this and illegals drivimg more accidents are going to happen a lot

        • DustyFae, the illegals in my area have accidents all the time and not a damn one of them has any insurance. They’re EXEMPT from it just because they’re foreigners. If I drive anywhere without insurance I get penalized.

          • Count on a 20% chance of a driver not being insured. Regardless of where you drive and count on paying higher uninsured driver protection because of them. It’s ridiculous.

          • I’m liable to shoot scum illegals that crash me on the road.

          • Braveheart… no wonder my auto insurance rate keeps going up every six months, the illegal influx who have immunity that ordinary legal Americans are subject to.

            • Aljamo, sad but true. Must be nice being an illegal alien. [SARCASM DEFINITELY INTENDED]

      19. This is also why a squad of ‘robot soldiers’ will never replace a squad of 0311’s.

      20. Every new “safety” feature put on these cars adds more to the price. We don’t teach people that you shouldn’t drive 70 mph in a snow storm or driving too fast in a downpour. No personal responsibility anymore. Govt is dictating all these safety rules on cars but common sense would solve most accidents. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive too fast for road conditions. And stay off the god dam phone. I’d like to see an ass whipping for people caught using their phone and creating a hazard. And self driving cars? Ha that is a computer hackers wet dream. Humans equal idiocy.

      21. I may be old fashioned but I would never get in a car where my hands are not on the steering wheel and my foot not ready to brake, that’s pure insanity. I don’t even trust other people to drive the vehicle I’m sitting in. Sort of related, but I read a story about the danger of microwaves, cell phones, cell towers and wi-fi technology. It stated that these waves damage women and young girls ovaries and egg health. This DNA damage will run into the entire following female ancestors down the line. Called basically a killing mechanism for all life on Earth, plant, human and animal. Also blamed for the huge decline in bee numbers. Yet the threat is brushed aside as negligible.

      22. Why does everyone seem to just accept that this was just an accidental death?

        This was a case where the car didn’t like him and decided to do something about it, a programmed dry run for future assassinations of dissenters when the time comes.

      23. Michael Hastings redux.

        Wait, you don’t remember that reporter, whose car was hacked via Bluetooth?

      24. relying on machines is what this generation has been brought up to do…instead of relying on them selves. I am furious when I see some one driving a car and texting or using the cell phone. Its time we get back to
        RESPONSIBILITY….Like the mother who let her licensed pistol out and her demented son took it and shot all those people in the movie theatre…she should have gone to jail with her wasted son.
        If you are responsible for a crime/accident you should do the time.
        We must teach the young to stop relying on machines. Once the grid is down the satellites destroyed there will be no internet…no computers running no GPS….It will be up to the individual to survive.
        These self driving cars are as wrong as people phoning and driving or texting and driving….

      25. People are STUPID. There is NO way I am getting in a so called self driving vehicle. Not NO but HELL NO. and the rest of you sheep should adapt the same policy.

      26. if i run down the street too fast then i can be arrested by our pig police and will be told that it’s a public safty isue but when large corporations like Google want to risk our lives for profit, well thats another game.

        My misses is better than any computer when it comes to driving and she carn’t dive so what chance do these machines have and what about the traffic jams they will create by not getting a move on.

      27. Autopilots don’t keep planes from running into the sides of mountains, either. This is a nonsense complaint. A driver is responsible for driving his car. This is not the fault of defective AI, it is the fault of a stupid a stupid person.

      28. I wonder why the attached video states that the accident happened in the Netherlands?

        So – where did this happen?

      29. Actually, I saw a post where someone pointed out that this is the first death due to a self-driving car, after X million miles driven using them. X was quite a bit larger than the deaths-per-million on the roads today. And this tech is in its infancy…I worked for a while on the map that a lot of these cars will be using for routing and localization. It will get better, and I suspect that after waiting for a while for fleet replacement to where most/all cars are capable of self-driving, the calls will begin to outlaw human drivers. And if the death rate for self-driving cars falls to 1/10 or less that of human drivers…maybe they’ll have a point? There may even be calls to outlaw private ownership of vehicles on the public roads, and transportation will be a fee service provided by the nearest car. NYC writ large, without the driver. Huge parking lots will go away, as will the long walks at the mall or stadium from and to your car. There are a ton of implications with this stuff, not all of which have even been really considered.

        I’m not saying any of this stuff is good or bad…just that it’s going to come. I’m not even sure how I feel about it…I’m not especially tied to my car, but holy crap. It will be interesting to see how it’s dealt with over the next 20 years or more.

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