We’ve been told and have accepted the fact that we are moving forward in the automotive industry to have autonomous vehicles for driving at some point very soon. In the near future we won’t have to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle and it won’t matter to anyone if we doze off for a nap. All we’ll be required to do is plug in the destination of where we want to go and our cars will take us there, no questions asked. This will be the type of driving that takes out the human element.
Until that day comes we have a hard time accepting those systems which have already made strides forward to give us some of the best driving we can find anywhere. Right now Tesla has the Autopilot System and while this isn’t the only system on the market that allows a driver to take their hands off the wheel for a bit, it seems to be the most freeing. The Autopilot system has allowed many owners to feel the can set the GPS destination and then forget about driving the vehicle at all and in some cases the Autopilot system has worked perfectly.
The problem has been the confidence some owners show in this system. There have been a few accidents this year alone in which the driver had set the Autopilot and then wasn’t paying attention to the road or the vehicle at all. Even though this system has always been advertised as a semi-autonomous system, many owners get confidence they don’t need to have in this system and end up with trouble. It’s easy to see, especially after you watch the video below, how we can have so much confidence in a system that can drive for us, but the reality is this is not a fully autonomous system yet.
Eventually there is no doubt Tesla will have the Autopilot system perfected and they may be the first to market with a fully autonomous vehicle, but not yet. As proved by the accidents of this year, the Autopilot does need to be improved to be a fully autonomous system of driving for us to enjoy. Because the system previously allowed too much freedom, which led to the accidents, Tesla has agreed to add a warning system to make the driver take over controls on a regular basis to prove alertness.
If the driver doesn’t take over the controls, the automatic steering portion of the Autopilot system will be permanently disabled on that vehicle. Even with that threat there still may be times some owners just don’t take over the wheel. Check out this video and see how the Tesla Model S and its cameras see the road, the obstacles and the directions. You can see how the car makes the needed adjustments to be able to perform the maneuvers necessary to get where it needs to go safely and with a system this amazing you might wonder how there could have been any accidents at all.
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