Tesla has been under constant scrutiny for its Autopilot advanced driver-assist system (ADAS) for years. When it comes to Tesla, essentially everything is under scrutiny. This is because the electric automaker is still considered a startup, and relatively new, at least in the grand scheme of things, and it does many things much differently than legacy automakers.
Tesla's Autopilot system is really just a suite of ADAS features much like we find on most other new cars. However, its name is arguably what gets peoples' attention, and is likely one of the many reasons it has received pushback from the media.
Safety organizations, such as the Insurance Insitute for Highway Safety (IIHS), recommend that all cars have ADAS features. Moreover, a car can't perform to the highest degree in IIHS crash testing without making certain active safety features standard. This is because the organization knows they save lives.
With all of this said, almost all media coverage related to Tesla's ADAS features is negative. This is mostly due to how Tesla is going about implementing and testing the features. The company updates its cars with beta versions of software via over-the-air updates, and then typical drivers become the official test drivers, rather than professionals, or people from Tesla who are trained to test ADAS features.
Even if you don't follow Tesla closely, you've probably seen hundreds of reports about how the automaker's advanced safety features are dangerous and killing people. While there have certainly been a handful of bad accidents, and a few even fatal, Tesla Autopilot, much like ADAS features on other cars, is reducing accidents and saving lives daily. Well-known Tesla hacker green is able to get footage from wrecked Teslas, and he shared the following video:
Had this car been using Autopilot, it's highly likely it wouldn't have left the road and slammed into obstacles. Further, had the car been monitoring the driver, who had clearly stopped paying attention to the road ahead, this accident may have been avoided.
People have pushed for driving monitoring "on Autopilot," just in case the system fails, which is a valid recommomendation. However, it seems cars should be monitoring drivers at all times, and especially when ADAS features either aren't available or are turned off. Check out what green has to say:
There's much more interesting conversation, as well as more insight from green. If you click on the tweet above, you can check out the whole thread.
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Once you've had a chance to check out the whole thread, let us know your thoughts. Is active driver monitoring more important when on Autopilot or not on Autopilot? We agree that it should be on at all times, but we welcome a conversation about the topic.