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Does Tesla Need to Accept its Autopilot System is Faulty?

However, this is not the first Tesla Autopilot failure that killed a person

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A sales staff chats with a customer at a Tesla store near a poster announcing orders of the Model 3 electric cars in Beijing, China, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA

The infamous Tesla Model 3 sedan crash with a semi-truck that happened in March was triggered when the Autopilot system failed to detect the driver’s hand on the steering wheel, the media said citing reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“The NTSB’s report did not indicate the Tesla driver was at fault and said the investigation is ongoing. But the news raises more questions about Tesla’s marketing of Autopilot — the company’s semi-autonomous driving software,” CNN reported on Friday.

The crash, which happened on March 1 in Florida, killed the 50-year-old Tesla driver Jeremy Beren Banner.

Despite Tesla CEO Elon Musk regularly defending the technology, critics argue that slapping the “Autopilot” name onto a driver-assistance feature can lull people into a false sense of security, making them less likely to stay fully alert and more vulnerable to a crash.

tesla model s
Tesla has maintained that the system is designed only to assist drivers, who must pay attention at all times and be ready to intervene. Wikimedia Commons

“Tesla drivers have logged more than one billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and our data shows that, when used properly by an attentive driver who is prepared to take control at all times, drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those operating without assistance,” the report quoted a Tesla spokesperson as saying.

According to the Model 3 owner’s manual, the car “detects your hands by recognising light resistance as the steering wheel turns, or from you manually turning the steering wheel very lightly, without enough force to retake control. Engaging a turn signal or using any steering wheel button or scroll wheel also qualifies for your hands being detected”.

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However, this is not the first Tesla Autopilot failure that killed a person.

Earlier in 2016, Joshua Brown died in a similar Tesla crash near Gainesville, Florida when his Model S sedan crashed into a semi-trailer truck. (IANS)

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Usage of Lithium-ion Batteries Revolutionizing the World

Lithium-ion Batteries have revolutionised Technology in the World

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Lithum-Ion Battery
A Lithium-Ion Battery for Samsung Mobile Phone. Wikimedia Commons

Be it smartphones, notebooks or electric cars, lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our world, laying the foundation for a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday while awarding the 2019 Nobel prize in Chemistry to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino.

The Li-ion technology is currently the best performing technology for energy storage based on batteries. Li-ion batteries are used in small electronics (smartphones, laptops etc) and are also the best options for electric cars.

In the 1970s as the world stared at oil crisis, Whittingham from Binghamton University in the US, American professor and solid-state physicist Goodenough (currently at the University of Texas at Austin) and Japanese chemist Yoshino advanced the development in the field through the 1980s.

Since Lithium is the lightest metal, using lithium ions made batteries lighter.

The lithium-ion batteries were launched commercially by Sony and Asahi Kasei Corporation in 1991.

Today, the race is on among the stakeholders to find a battery that can let users enjoy time on their devices without worrying about the charge.

Researchers from the University of Alberta recently developed a new battery technology that could provide 10 times more charge capacity compared to the lithium-ion power packs.

This battery technology utilizes silicon nanoparticles as an electrode for the lithium-ion batteries. Silicon is abundant, and the substance only costs around a third of the price of high-purity graphite, which sells for more than $10,000 per metric ton.

Going forward, smartphones will sport graphene batteries that charge swiftly, and will mark a quantum leap from the fast charging technologies and the current default of lithium-ion batteries.

Technology Entrepreneur speaking
Elon Musk, a technology entrepreneur in the above picture. IANS

When it comes to electric cars, Elon Musk-run Tesla has achieved great deal of efficacy in this field and is now aiming to create a lithium-ion battery that can run a car or an electric truck for over 16 lakh kms.

Current Tesla cars can achieve about 8 lakh kms out of their batteries before they face any serious problem.

A new research paper from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada has claimed the Jeff Dahn-led team is close to creating a lithium-ion battery that can run a car for over 1 million (over 16 lakh) miles.

For more than a decade, Tesla engineers have been obsessed with making the world’s most efficient electric vehicles.

As a result, Tesla vehicles already travel farther on a single charge than any other production EV on the market.

Model S and Model X cars can achieve nearly 600 kms and 525 kms per charge on a 100 kWh battery pack.

Tesla’s choice of cylindrical cells sets it apart from other EV players. The company also uses a liquid-cooled thermal management system to manage battery temperatures whereas other automakers take a more economical air-cooling approach.

By adjusting the temperature of the battery pack, Tesla is able to ensure that cells are operating in their most efficient and optimal states, thereby maximizing battery longevity as well as performance.

It has been argued that lithium will be one of the main objects of geopolitical competition in a world running on renewable energy and dependent on batteries.

Current research areas for lithium-ion batteries include life extension, energy density, safety, cost reduction and charging speed, among others.

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Research has also been under way in the area of non-flammable electrolytes as a pathway to increased safety based on the flammability and volatility of the organic solvents used in the typical electrolyte. (IANS)