Elon Musk has revealed that his company is working on aggressive autonomous driving mode which is named as ‘Mad Max’. Musk revealed this after a fan created a mockup of a Tesla truck on the set of Mad Max film and tweeted it to Musk. Later on, Musk shared another image of the center display of a Tesla vehicle with Autopilot on ‘development mode’ which was allowing Tesla to test new features. The display showed three options for ‘blind spot threshold’ which were standard, aggressive or Mad Max.
Musk also said jokingly that Tesla also considered having an ‘LA Freeway’ mode but that will be too ‘loco’. Changing lanes can be a difficult task for autonomous cars since they often have systems that need them to keep a distance from other cars. This makes changing lanes really impossible for these cars. To overcome these issues, developers are creating a driving software which is more like human’s way of driving that is aggressive. Tesla also seems to be taking this challenge very seriously and working on it to create solutions.
The Mad Max feature is not available to the Tesla owners currently. You can change lane in a Tesla, however, the driver has to take responsibility for checking the lanes around them first. Musk has promised that complete autonomous mode will be ready for Teslas in the next year but he also added that Tesla 9 software update which is due in August, will have some ‘full self-driving features’ in it as well.
MIT is also working to develop autonomous driving technology based on the human drivers’ way of changing lanes when they need to. The CSAIL Lab is looking for the way by which autonomous cars can be made more efficient when they are provided with fewer data. Most lane changing algorithms are made using detailed statistical models which make the car to run in a super cautious way and doesn’t change the lane at all. The new algorithm gives the car less information and allows it to make decisions quicker, allowing it to act aggressively. Alyssa Pierson, the lead author of a study on autonomous cars said, “What can we do with as little information as possible? How can we have an autonomous vehicle behave as a human driver might behave.”
The new algorithm also works by adjusting the allowable buffer zones around the car. The fewer data provided to the car also allows the car to adjust this zone on the fly and gives permission to the car to drive in different styles which can be aggressive or conservative, just like human driving. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL said, “The optimization solution will ensure navigation with lane changes that can model an entire range of driving styles, from conservative to aggressive, with safety guarantees.” Freeway driving will perhaps be as crazy with autonomous cars as it is with human-driven cars, however, it will be much more safer.