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How safe is Tesla’s Autopilot?

Motor vehicle manufacturers continue to try to outdo each other, particularly when it comes to cutting-edge technology installed in their vehicles. Sensors and cameras have come a long way in detecting anything in close proximity, whether it is a car or pedestrian.

New home. Same problems.

Then, Elon Musk burst upon the automobile scene to tout his Tesla cars and their unprecedented innovation. Recently, the famous founder has moved his base of operations to Texas. However, problems that arose while his company resided in California continue to follow him to the Lone Star State.

Questions continue to surround Tesla vehicles, starting in 2016 after a deadly crash in Florida revealed that the technology failed. Five years later, concerns are on the rise following an alarming number of recent accidents that may have resulted from Autopilot’s failure. Yet, Tesla’s famous CEO continues to claim that his invention is what makes his cars safer than others.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may have something to say about Musk’s assertions. Currently, the NHTSA is studying 23 recent accidents involving confirmed or possible use of Autopilot. They include:

  • A Tesla rear-ending a patrol car stopped on a Michigan highway with the driver telling the police that he engaged Autopilot.
  • Near Houston, another Tesla struck a police vehicle on the side of a highway with no sign of slowing down before the collision.
  • Also, in Michigan, the roof tore off a Tesla after the vehicle failed to stop for a semi crossing the road, continuing under the truck and injuring the driver and passenger.

While many welcomed the unprecedented changes in technological safety features, concerns continue over the drivers’ overreliance. Combining a complacent approach with potential defects and outright failures will only result in more tragedies that could have been prevented.