Tesla unveils that self-driving cars still need a lot of ‘you’
May 2016 was definitely a tough month for the auto industry, for back to the future fans and of course, for the family of Joshua Brown, a 40-year old man from Ohio who lost his life while he was driving his Tesla Model S, after crashing with a truck.
Well, the fact is that Mr. Brown wasn’t actually driving. At the moment of the collision, Tesla’s Autopilot Technology was on, and neither the car nor the driver reacted timely to avoid the accident.
Now, after more than a year of investigations, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said that this technology is still limited and that it played a “major role” in the incident.
This will surely spark different reactions from concerned parties, but one thing comes as a surprise, and that is the family’s support to Tesla’s technology. A statement released by them to address comments on the car’s major share of responsibility over the accident, said “That is simply not the case” and, later on added that “People die every day in car accidents.” Finishing with this remark: “change always comes with risks, and zero tolerance for deaths would totally stop innovation and improvements.”
A little bit too “corporate” for such a tragic situation, but you have to admire their entrepreneurial spirit.
The NTSB clearly pointed that one of the flaws of this self-driving software is an increased “overreliance on vehicle automation.”, which is a technical way to say that people tend to get distracted and the software doesn’t do enough to deal with that.
Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, another agency involved in investigating the matter, said through its spokesman Mr. Bryan Thomas, that “Autopilot requires full driver engagement at all times.”, meaning that drivers should not deviate their attention from the road just because the car is doing all of the driving.
One has to wonder, why would you buy a car with an autopilot feature if you can’t take your eyes off the road?
For those with the expectation of experiencing a futurist driving experience, it seems that self-driving stills needs a lot of ‘you’. As the saying goes: “Safety first!” so keep your eyes on the road even though the manufacturer says you don’t have to.
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