My Model 3 Driving Itself

About 2.5 years ago, Tesla posted a video of a self-driving Model X.  It completely blew my mind!  You can see it in my old post about autonomous driving.  Elon Musk then promised an autonomous cross country trip by the end of 2017. That year came and went and then another year without any meaningful progress.  This, by the way, is called "Elon time".  However, with most things from promising to land rockets back on Earth to building hundreds of thousands of Model 3s in a year, I think autonomous driving will come to fruition soon.

There are a handful of Tesla owners in my readership and I know you guys already know all this stuff, but the large majority of people who read my blog aren't really that much of a fanatic as I am with Tesla and Elon Musk.  So, the above video is something that will give you a look into what is already available in Teslas.  I personally took that video a couple of weeks ago while I (or really, the car) was driving to the airport (for a Turo dropoff).

Tesla released what they call "Navigate on Autopilot" several months ago.  You probably know what Autopilot is.  It is essentially a glorified adaptive cruise control.  It will follow a lane and also brake according to the car in front of you.  If a car swerves into your lane, it will also be able to maneuver out of the way if it was safe to do so.  Navigate on Autopilot is a step up from there.  You set a destination on the navigation system (and this only works on highways right notw), and the car will know what lanes to take and which exits to take on the route to take you all the way to the destination highway off-ramp.  However, Tesla had disabled the auto-lane change; so, the driver must accept the lane change by pressing on the turn signal stalk, that is, until a few weeks ago.

The user can now disable lane change acknowledgement and allow the car change lanes by itself.  The car still requires you to keep your hands on the wheel and will alert you when it's trying to change a lane via a tone and/or vibration on the steering wheel.  If you watch the video, for the entire 1:17 of the drive, the car was essentially driving itself.  I started taking the video on the on-ramp to the 401.  The car then changes lanes 3 times by itself, while avoiding cars that were driving along in the lane that it was trying to get into.  I don't think I need to talk much more...just watch the video!  If a picture is a thousand words, then a video is a million words!

On April 22, Tesla will be holding an Autonomy Investor Day to show off the next steps in autonomous driving.  Elon Musk has been very vocal about autonomous driving recently and has made a number of statements about how close Tesla is to full self-driving.  Below is an interview he did with MIT research scientist, Lex Friedman, on autonomous driving and AI.  It's a long video but well worth the time.  One thing that he said, which I thought was very interesting was, "I think it will become very quickly, maybe even towards the end of this year, but I would say I'd be shocked if it's not next year, at the latest, that having a human intervene will decrease safety."  I look forward to that day!



Just this past Sunday, we heard the famous gospel passage of John 8:1-11, where the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who was accused of committing adultery, asking Him what they should do with her. Jesus responds by saying, "Let the one among you who is without sin 
be the first to throw a stone at her" (Jn 8:7), to which the crowd responded by leaving, one by one. Jesus then forgave the adulteress and let her go. This is the jist of this Gospel story, but there was always one part that puzzled me. It is the part that talked about how Jesus initially didn't respond to the crowd, but "bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger" (Jn 8:6). The gospel doesn't say what He wrote, which makes it the more intriguing.  All these years, I've wondered about it, but didn't do anything about it, until today.

Thanks goodness for Google, my answer came on the first page of the search results after I had searched for "ancient Israel writing on the ground".  I wanted to find some history on what the significance of writing on the ground was. Instead of some history site talking about ancient Jewish customs, I actually found a Christian site explaining this exact passage. The answer was very satisfying. As expected, the Evangelist wrote a well crafted account with much theological significance buried in the text.

You can find the article here:

I will just briefly summarize what is said there.

First, in ancient Israel, whenever a couple is caught in adultery (why only the woman was caught in this case is worth pondering), they would be brought to the temple gates, and the priest would write the law that was broken and also the name of the accused.  In the gospel story, when they brought the accused woman to the temple, Jesus proceeds to start writing on the ground.  Jesus' action seem to indicate that He was the priest in this instance.

Second, and more importantly, we need to look at Jeremiah 17:13, which is a verse that the High Priest recites at the end of Yom Kippur every year, "O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah 17:13 [KJV translation]).  And who would be departing the scene in this instance?  You got it...the scribes and Pharisees.  From this, we can deduce that Jesus was probably writing down the names of the scribes and the Pharisees.  The fact that they left the scene fulfills this prophecy that they have forsaken the Lord.

Third, if we look at John 7, the chapter just before the start of this gospel reading, it reads, "On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'" (John 7:37-38).  So, St. John preps us for this story of the adulteress by telling us that Jesus is the "fountain of living waters", and if he is the fountain of the living waters, He is then the "Lord".  But do know this, the "Lord" in this case is YHWH (Yahweh), which is God Himself.  And if the reader knows Jeremiah 17:13, which most ancient Jews would, they would also know that the scribes and the Pharisees are the ones who will "be ashamed and...they that depart from [God] shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of the living waters."
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