No matter how much we and other outlets insist that having 100 percent faith that your Tesla on Autopilot is a bad idea that can have serious consequences, it seems our message just isn’t getting across. In a recent incident, a man was watching a movie while traveling in the driver’s seat of his Model S, when it crashed into not one, but two police cruisers.
No people were hurt, thankfully, but it could have ended much worse (as it often has in similar situations). The incident occurred in Nash County, North Carolina, and it involved the aforementioned Model S, as well as a sheriff’s cruiser and a highway patrol cruiser; both police cars had officers on-board at the time of the crash.
This is yet another accident that could have been avoided if people didn’t have so much faith in systems like Autopilot. Sure, it’s called Autopilot, but that technically isn’t an accurate name for a system that currently cannot replace a driver and ensure complete safety under all conditions (although it is being fully rewritten) - some are now demanding that Tesla change the system’s name for something a little less misleading.
Some have also pointed a finger at Tesla founder and CEO, Elon Musk, as being one who encourages drivers to rely on Autopilot. For instance, he recently tweeted that he can go from his house all the way to work almost without him having to intervene. Musk, however, doesn’t say he isn’t paying attention to the road, but some who follow him may falsely understand that they no longer have to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.
At the same time, it is worth noting that Autopilot has also been credited with avoiding many crashes that human drivers may have not been able to. So it's it's not all bad news, and the system certainly has merits, but given the current level of tech, it cannot be relied upon to fully take over driving a vehicle; maybe that will be possible in the not too distant future, but it's certainly not advisable today.