Self-driving vehicles appear to be the next big step in transportation. Less human error, decreased congestion and increased productivity are just a handful of the many benefits autonomous cars bring to the table. However, despite what automakers like Tesla say, they're not here just yet.
Carwow's Mat Watson recently went over why self-driving cars are a lie - at least for the moment. He started off with Tesla, explaining how their FSD setup is far from "full-self driving". He mentioned how the system often doesn't work, and how he has encountered numerous issues with it such as sudden braking with no obstacles ahead. He noted how Tesla even has a disclaimer on their website stating that the system does not make the car autonomous.
Watson also noted how only a couple years ago Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised that there would be a million driverless robotaxis in the US by 2020. Equally, back in 2016 Ford made bold claims about driverless cars without steering wheels by 2021 before later stating it wouldn't be possible. BMW and Volvo have also made similar promises in the past decade.
Watson stated self-driving cars are just prototypes and far from an everyday reality. Even Motional's Las Vegas robotaxi service will be restricted to just a few blocks when it eventually launches in 2023.
Watson did note how adaptive cruise control systems are getting better and better, but are far from self-driving setups. They still require driver attention and are only suitable for certain environments. He also discussed how autonomous systems struggle without adequate lane markings and are slow to respond to problems that they haven't faced before.
However, the main issue for autonomous vehicles remains the legal system. All current laws assume a driver is responsible for their vehicle, but what if they're not? In the case of an accident between autonomous cars who is responsible - the driver or the manufacturer? Changing such legal narrative would take years and cost profound amounts of money. Don't get me wrong, self-driving cars are the future and will eventually happen, but Mat has a point - they're far from being readily available at the moment, despite what Elon Musk or Mary Barra says.