There have been a number of car accidents this year because people don’t seem to understand exactly what Tesla’a Autopilot system is. Autopilot is a semi-autonomous driving system designed to offer advanced cruise control and auto-steering, but it isn’t fully autonomous. The driver needs to be paying attention to the road with hands on the wheel. Seemingly, people letting their guard down when using Autopilot has led to accidents and even caused deaths. This is a problem for Tesla as these misunderstandings can whip up a lot of negative press for the car company.
A new video coming out of California then might make things worse. The video seems to show a Tesla employee napping, while Autopilot is engaged and will no doubt confuse the issue even further.
Tesla isn’t happy about the video, telling Mashable, “We take safety very seriously and are investigating this incident.”
A lot is said about how many lives can be saved once humans no longer drive cars. It is human error that accounts for most car accidents so if we can remove it from the equation we’ll also be able to remove the accidents. In the meantime, however, confusion over the capabilities of self-driving cars is causing fatal problems. This’ll likely end up leading to prohibition of human drivers in the future, but for now, those leading the charge towards a fully autonomous future need to take responsibility for properly educating those using their technology. You’ve dropped the ball here Tesla, and you need to sort it out before more people die.