Should the Tesla Autopilot be Allowed?

11.29.16 - Tesla Autopilot

Tesla has famously thumbed their collective noses at the marketplace and have not only sold their vehicles in a way that’s different from what we’re used to but also added tech updates over the air on a regular basis. Autopilot is a semi-autonomous driving system that’s been so close to a fully autonomous system that many owners of Tesla models have recorded themselves doing anything but driving. This doesn’t give a warm and fuzzy feeling to other drivers on the road, but the system is impressive and is the closest thing we have right now to a fully autonomous system.

The question is whether or not this Autopilot system should be allowed on the roads, and it’s a question that AutoGuide addresses in this video. Normally beta testing is done in a controlled environment but Tesla seems to be beta testing their vehicles at the potential harm of all drivers on the road. That has become increasingly apparent over the past several months as Tesla models have been responsible for several accidents, but according to Tesla, a majority of those accidents weren’t because of the Autopilot system but because the “driver” of the vehicle wasn’t being responsible and using the system the way it was intended.

Tesla has never told us this system was meant to be full autonomous and with the Autopilot system turned on the Tesla models have logged more miles than any other similar system in use and has a much better safety record than what we have in vehicles without this self-driving system. The reality is, the Autopilot system has always been advertised for highway use only and with the need for you to stay alert and keep your hands on the wheel to ensue your own safety in the car. What is seems we have here is a plethora of owners who don’t realize they need to be more responsible behind the wheel.

Sure it’s great to have a vehicle that can nearly drive itself, and someday we will have vehicles that are meant to drive themselves, but Tesla models aren’t meant for that at all. It seems this Autopilot system doesn’t have any real requirements for you to keep your hands on the wheel or to be in the driver’s seat as there are videos on YouTube of some owners sitting in the passenger seat rather than behind the wheel. This act alone should give us warning to ask Tesla to put something new in the Autopilot system to ensure the car won’t be able to continue driving without some safety items in place.

Yes, we want to have a vehicle that can be able to drive itself and we will one day, but while Tesla is still beta testing Autopilot and it’s not supposed to be a self-driving feature we need to have some added safeguards in order to keep people alert when on the road. Please Tesla, make your next over the air update one that requires a driver in the seat, the seatbelt buckled and hands on the wheels at least every five seconds. Having driver alertness tech wouldn’t hurt either.

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