Elon Musk Reveals the Tesla Semi Will Have an Actual ‘Mad Max’ Mode

Get out of the way.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk rarely shies away from bold hyperbole, as demonstrated previously by his labeling of Model S and Model X high-performance driving modes as “Insane” and “Ludicrous” settings.


Now, apparently the EV pioneer is taking some inspiration from a Tweet from last November (above), when Jon Gold posted a photo with the Tesla Semi pasted into the promotional photo for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Yesterday, Musk tweeted that the Tesla Semi indeed has a “Mad Max” mode in its settings and showed a screen shot of the menu option.

While “Insane” and “Ludicrous” modes boosted performance, “Mad Max” mode is in the truck’s “Blind Spot Threshold” settings, which determine how cautious the truck is when changing lanes.

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A flaw in autonomous vehicle programming that can be exploited by other drivers (or even pedestrians) is that by refusing to yield, human drivers can always have their way with deferential computers. So a Tesla Semi attempting to change lanes in “Standard” or maybe in in “Aggressive” mode might never be able to find an opening, as uncooperative drivers refuse to give the truck space.

Enter “Mad Max” mode. When a fed up truck operator supervising the current test fleet decides it is time to press the issue and use the turn signal to inform other drivers of intent to change lanes rather than requesting permission to do so.

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The menu option is the solution for the current prototype trucks, but Musk explained that production models will probably have a solution that is easier to use while navigating traffic. “Will prob have a manual override that requires continuous press for hardcore lane changes,” he said.

For still more assertive forcing of the issue, Musk joked that Tesla considered “LA Freeway” beyond the “Mad Max” setting, but discarded the idea for being “too loco.”

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Regardless of the attention-grabbing terminology, the issue of autonomous vehicles’ inherent submissiveness is a matter that carmakers will need to settle, with or without Mel Gibson’s help.