Closer Than They Appearror

I always thought that was a crappy rhyme.

Anyway, here’s how you adjust the mirrors in your car. If nobody ever taught you this, that’s okay. You probably just figured it out for yourself somehow, like I did, and it was wrong.

  1. Sit in your normal driving position.
  2. Adjust the rear-view mirror so it’s looking straight back through the rear window.
  3. Lean as far to the left as you can do quickly and comfortably.
  4. While there, adjust your left mirror so you can just see the edge of your car in the right side of the mirror.
  5. Now lean to the right and repeat (the opposite) for the right mirror.

Some folks might tell you to verify correct adjustment by being in the middle lane and watching cars go by but there’s an easier way:

  1. Pick an object on the far left side of the rear-view mirror.
  2. Make sure you can just see it in the far right side of your left side-view mirror without shifting your body or head too much.
  3. Repeat the inverse for the other side of the car.

There should be some, but minimal, overlap between the side mirrors and the rear-view mirror. The thing to remember is that the side-view mirrors aren’t there to duplicate the coverage of a rear-view mirror, they’re to cover your blind spots. Now you will see cars transition from the center mirror to the side mirror on whatever side they’re passing you. (But if they’re passing you on the right, you’re in the wrong lane! Move over!)

From now on you won’t have to turn your head to know if there’s a car in your blind spot: a glance will do. You’ll either see them in the side mirror or directly out the window. However — there may be some vehicles, like the Smart car, that may be so short they fit in that tiny space between the back of your window and the outside of your side-view mirror’s coverage, so turn your head anyway to check over your shoulder when changing lanes. But you knew that already.


Dream Car

I had a dream about the Model 3 this morning. Among its features were a thrust vector control rocket motor on the back, like the Batmobile meets an F-22 Raptor. This made it capable of landing vertically like the Falcon rocket. Also the rear view mirror was a frustratingly low-resolution LCD monitor that identified the year and model of each passing car, although the white text was sadly pixelated and difficult to read. The car came in a two-door coupe variant, which saved some money, but I ultimately decided we would get the sedan because they didn’t actually make the coupe version (dreamland logic).

All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware

I rarely laugh out loud from pure joy, but I did watching this video, several times, in fact. Although the video is promotional and highly controlled, it reaffirms everything I’ve believed about the future of self-driving car technology, and I’m even more excited that we’re in line to purchase one of these cars.

Tesla also says they will demonstrate a coast-to-coast autonomous drive some time next year. I assume this means automatic charging, too.

Self-driving vehicles will play a crucial role in improving transportation safety and accelerating the world’s transition to a sustainable future. Full autonomy will enable a Tesla to be substantially safer than a human driver, lower the financial cost of transportation for those who own a car and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not.

Source: All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware

Deux You See It?

The Tesla Master Plan, Part Deux is out (and if anyone is a hot shot, it’s Elon), and if you haven’t read it, read it. Since they’re nearing completion of part one and the media attacks against Tesla have just begun to warm up, the time is ripe.

I can’t say I’m surprised about the overall plan because it makes perfect sense to me. I had anticipated in a small way some of the consequences of a self-driving car, but I hadn’t considered hiring out my Tesla to go drive people around, driverless, Uber-style. I fully expect my car to be able to go run errands and pick-up/drop-off family and friends. Want a Tobin’s pizza and won’t need the car for a few days? Send it on a 2,000-mile errand to Normal, IL. Just be sure to call ahead first. I believe that my future children will never have to learn how to drive, unless for sport or recreation.

Some things I’m sure Tesla has considered:

  • How will the autonomous vehicles identify themselves to their fare? Personally I’m a fan of LED message signs, but that may be too tacky. Glance in to have a look at the giant LCD control panel? Perhaps. Or simply inform the passengers of the model, color, and license plate?
  • Where is my car now? Open the Tesla App and see its location, heading, velocity, and even (or especially) the live video feed from its camera system.

I can see economic opportunities emerging from self-driving cars that can run errands for you. Drive-through grocery pick-up with online ordering? Okay. 🙂

Also, how about the removal of on-street parking, instead having simple drop-off and pick-up zones where the car then goes to park itself, possibly quite a distance away? Or it just goes home and comes back later to pick us up?

We’ll need some robust, autonomous self-charging capabilities, though. That snake charger looks neat but how reliable will it be in the long term?

Anyway, I’m enjoying anticipating these future problems opportunities, for before long, tomorrow will be here.

A Closed Letter to Tesla and Elon Musk

Dear Mr. Musk,

Up until now you’ve been a curiosity. An interesting little distraction. You’ve made sexy cars for the small percentage of us who can afford them. We like that you chose to make them electric because of what you’ve been able to do with their performance. We like fast, powerful toys that respond instantly to our whims. Environmentally friendly, you say? Pshaw! A very clever marketing strategy indeed. We commend you for your level of deceit. For that you are almost worthy of being called one of us.

But now you promise to bring your electric cars to the people in a form that they can afford? You’re giving them a taste of what we have, but for cheaper. Elon, we know your “mission” to save the world through renewable energy and Martian colonization is merely a clever scheme for the unwashed masses to adore you, but you’re taking it too far. We love your techno-baubles, and sending our satellites into space for cheaper is always better for us, but you’re starting to become annoying.

Don’t threaten our established investments. We worked very hard to build them and to make the people believe that they are necessary for their piddly little workaday lives. They must scurry at our whim, and our system is carefully balanced to keep them on the edge at all times precisely so that they cannot rise up against us. You are meddling with that balance.

If you think the recent press coverage and stock price “dip” are anything but random happenstance, we will not influence your perception. But this is your only and final warning. You are approaching “too far.”

Watch yourself.


You Don’t Need To Know

P.S. In my normal narrative voice, I would be happy to increase my Model 3 deposit amount if it were to help with production in any way, and I’d bet that many more people feel the same way. Perhaps an optional extra $1000 to get even higher up on the list? 🙂

Dashboard cameras: What you need to know

Jeremy got it on air before May. Here’s the follow up to my earlier post.

As more drivers use consumer dashboard cameras, video evidence is playing a crucial role in serious accident investigations.

Source: Dashboard cameras: What you need to know