Tesla Under Fire After Autopilot Crashes, Wrong Perception of Autonomous Cars Cited
Tesla is improving its autopilot features after a fatal crash killed a driver while using a Tesla Model S in autopilot mode. Because of this incident, the debate whether or not autopilot feature is safe has proliferated. Musk, however, argues that there's a wrong perception when it comes to autopilot, it was created to assist drivers and not to let a car drive itself.
Tesla electric cars boast of advanced features like Bioweapon defense air filter and of course, the autopilot system under fire today. Last May a driver was killed in a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S set to autopilot mode. Joshua Brown, 40, died in Florida when his Tesla slammed into a truck. This incident ignited the debate on how safe is the autopilot features in cars not limited to the ones involving Tesla.
After the incident, Musk and his company issued a statement of condolences to the victim. But this did not stop the online debate discussing the safety of Tesla's autopilot feature.
Our condolences for the tragic loss https://t.co/zI2100zEGL— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2016
A lot of people misconstrued to true nature of autopilot feature, according to Business Insider. The wrong perception is that drivers can take a nap or watch TV while the car drives itself, but this shouldn't be the case. Autopilot is designed to assist drivers and to use the autopilot technology as a solution to driving hoes and not elevate accidents with it.
But due to the overwhelming response of drivers around the world, the U.S. government with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board launched investigations on autopilot accidents. The findings of the two government-led investigations may have a great impact on the future of autopilot feature.
"Research is needed on the interactions between the operator and vehicle at different levels of autonomy to ensure consumers are able to respond to the technology appropriately," senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican wrote in a statement published by USA Today. "In order to achieve the intended safety benefits of these technologies, manufacturers must educate customers not only about the benefits but also their limitations," Thune added.
But Elon Musk believes that the Tesla autopilot feature can do more good than bad and stands by its company's decision to promote the autopilot feature. Musk revealed that Tesla is working with company Bosch and MobilEye to further improve Tesla's autopilot feature with radar sensors.
Many Tesla users support the company saying that a single fatal accident should not define the future of autopilot in general.