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Self-propelled gas car – a horse led by a carrot on a stick?


Published on July 13, 2019 |
by Chanan Bos


3. July 2019 by Chanan Bos

Elon Musk has said that buying a car that can not be upgraded to allow full autonomy equals the purchase of a horse. This means that you should buy a Tesla, as we are not aware of any other cars on the market that can be upgraded to full self-drive. But one topic that is not much discussed is electric cars compared to self-driving gasoline cars. Will people be able to buy self-driving gasoline cars? Well, I imagine Elon would call a self-propelled gas car a horse with a carrot on a stick in front of it. Let's examine why.

This article is a non-technical spin-off article from the Tesla self-propelled computer analysis I recently released. Elon Musk said Full Self-Driving could only work in an electric car. To this day, this sentence really confuses some people because it has not been explained in detail. The general point is that developing a self-propelled technology for a gas car would be a huge waste of resources, as this represents a financial and practical dead-end. Apart from the obvious "electric car", there are some key reasons for the future ".

Gas cars are like electric cars with a lot of delay (gamer term for latency problems).

A computer can respond much faster than a person. There are only two things a gas car can do quickly – hit the brake and turn the wheel. People have to be prepared for this by adapting their plans to the latency of the gas pedal. They have to get used to the idea that their action does not lead to an immediate reaction. Many things have to happen in a mechanically automated transmission: mechanical torque transmission with the differential gear; Changing the engine speed each time a different transmission is selected; Control of the speed by more or less fuel in the engine. None of this is instantaneous. As I said, it's like a game with a delay.

It does not matter how great a self-propelled computer can be when there is a large discrepancy between its command, the action, the observation and the evaluation of the outcome, decision-making for the next action and implementation of the subsequent action. The gas car is the weakest link in the chain – or more precisely, the bottleneck when it comes to responsiveness. With electrically controlled torque vectoring, an electric powertrain can react faster than a human driver, leading me to the next point.

photo of Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

Safety on slippery and icy roads

This is another topic that Elon has already touched upon, but which is quite complicated to explain. There are no simple, direct, absolute numerical metrics (at least not public) to compare the safety difference between a gas car and an electric car on slippery and icy roads.

First of all, it is important to understand that the wheel rotation of a car as an output, a reaction, it is also a sensor that can detect how fast each wheel turns and how much traction you have on the road , What can you do with this data? If it is a gas car, it can only adjust the general traction control settings for slippery road conditions, inform the driver about the changed circumstances and hope for the best, because until the gas car recognizes something, for a good reaction it is too late, because the Time the car needs to react is too long to be of much use. On the other hand, an electric car can not only alert the driver and make the general settings, but at the moment a wheel loses traction, it will immediately change the speed at which that wheel turns, or set the other 3, to compensate for this. The time between observation and reaction is short enough to actually make a difference. (This is not to be confused with a system like "Active Braking System" (ABS), which tries to stop a car if it has lost control for more than a second.)

What we know for sure Despite lack of data makes a difference to having an electric car. The only question is the size of the difference? Does this mean that a rear-engined electric car is as good in slippery conditions as a non-electric, front-wheel drive car? Or a non-electric car with four-wheel drive? Aside from explaining the theoretical reasons why electric cars are much better in this area, we can only say with confidence that people feel the difference and feel safer driving a Tesla in the winter, even a Tesla with rear-wheel drive.

Courtesy of Waymo & Jaguar.

Elons comments on horses and why the safety advantage is simple chess.

As mentioned earlier, Elon said if you buy a car that is not & # 39; t electric and not upgradeable, then you practically buy a horse. When it comes to avoiding accidents, it has limited capabilities in the arsenal. In chess, it is closer to a horse's train set, while the move of a Tesla is closer to a queen.

An electric car has instant torque. So, if a car has to make drastic evasive maneuvers to avoid an accident, it may also consider options that require immediate acceleration, which a gas car can not. This may also apply to evasive maneuvers when traffic on parallel lanes requires immediate acceleration to successfully transition to another lane. This may be the only option to avoid the crash, and may just be an option if the car can do it very quickly. In such a case, your horse, being carried on a stick with carrot, can not stop itself from ending up on the rump.

Air resistance, engine efficiency and energy efficiency

Compared to gas cars, the range is a bit like an Achilles heel for electric cars (for the time being). The gap closes very quickly, but in any case efficiency is an important key to greater reach. This means efficient engines, good aerodynamics and not too much power for other functions like the very power hungry self-propelled computer technology.

In March 2018, it was announced that the Jaguar I-PACE would do so to join Waymo's fleet of autonomous vehicles. However, more than a year later, not a single Waymo I-PACE vehicle has entered commercial operation, and there is probably a very good reason to do so.

The Jaguar I-PACE's real range seems to be a little less than 320 km (200 miles), though the battery is larger than that of a standard X model with a range of 255 miles. Now add the aerodynamic drag needed by Waymo's equipment for the equation and processing power to get the system up and running. With a computer hardware version 3 (HW3) Tesla, the power requirement is approximately 100 watts, but Waymo's devices may consume much more. During Tesla's Autonomy Day presentation, it was said that the autopilot computer can make up 20% of the power consumed in non-highway conditions. If this is also the case for the I-PACE, its range will be 260 km – but it will actually be worse, as this 20% does not include the additional air resistance of Waymo's device. This brings us to the next point.

How much do others opt for energy efficiency?

It seems that Tesla is the only company that develops self-propelled systems very directly for certain models. Other companies and teams seem to be rather disjointed, mainly because the main work has been done or done by start-ups outside the automotive sector, rather than by automotive companies whose design and development teams work closely with the self-propelled technology team. To what extent the self-propelled tech teams have prioritized the efficiency of their systems or have understood how this would differ in different vehicle models, is an open question.

As discussed in detail in our HW3 chip deep dive, a processor must be very powerful, but also very energy efficient. In the case of HW3, this means that 100 watts or up to a whopping 20% ​​of the power consumption of a vehicle are consumed. In the case of Waymo, we do not know how much power the computers consume, so Tesla may be hit. However, since Waymo has not released any hardware details, there is no way to determine this.

One thing is for sure – the products that NVIDIA manufactures are extremely power hungry. The latest hardware consumes 500 watts for 320 TOPS (which, if we understand NVIDIA in its blog post, can be reduced to 250 watts for 160 TOPS). Tesla can reach 144 TOPS with 100 watts. Basically, NVIDIA delivers 0.64 TOPS per watt, Tesla 1.66 TOPS per watt. For fun, remember that 100 watts in some situations can account for 20% of the vehicle's power consumed. If that were 500 watts, FSD would almost double the power consumption of a vehicle (compared to no FSD technology at all). Now I have to pay tribute to NVIDIA – its current product line is a general-purpose general purpose product designed for product development and testing, and NVIDIA promises a much better chip is just around the corner. [19659007] However, the key point is that in terms of self-propelled technology, safety after-safety could be the second most important measure, and we do not know how much it is being considered by other automakers or chip manufacturers.


Electric vehicles can respond much faster than gasoline vehicles in various ways, making them more suitable for fully automated technologies. You can use the fast response time of computers. The exact and optimal combination of steering, brakes, power on each wheel and suspension, which is coordinated by the computer, is different worlds than it is possible with a mechanical combustion engine.

The precise control of the electric motors also allows each wheel to adapt to slippery road conditions, making a rear-wheel drive vehicle on icy road conditions almost as safe (or even safer) as a front-wheel or four-wheel drive gas car. [19659007] The combination of a computer AI driver with an electric car is so much more versatile and can react so much faster to traffic situations that it just does not make sense to continue to produce (or buy) gas cars.

However, this is crucial for the development of efficient, self-propelled technologies and efficient vehicles and for the most efficient integration of the two.

That was fun. I hope you agree with it. Do not even open up the possibilities of the Pandora the Roadster 2 offers by possibly jumping a few feet into the air to avoid an accident. 😉

Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

Tags: Elon Musk, robot axis, Tesla, Tesla autopilot, Tesla self-propelled, Tesla robot axis

About the Author

Chanan Bos Chanan grew up in a multicultural environment A multilingual environment that He often offers a unique perspective on a variety of topics. He is always interested in big-picture topics such as AI, quantum physics, philosophy, universal basic income, climate change, science fiction concepts such as singularity, misinformation and the list goes on. He is currently studying creative media and technology but already holds diplomas in environmental science, economics and management. His goal is to discourage linear thinking, bias and affirmation bias while promoting lateral thinking and helping people understand exponential advances. Chanan is very worried about his future and the future of humanity. Therefore, he has tremendous admiration for Elon Musk and his companies, above all for their mission, philosophy and intention to help humanity and its future. He sees Tesla as one of the few companies that can help us save ourselves from climate change.

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