Tesla is touting a feature they refer to as “Full Self-Driving,” a product name that could be dangerously misleading. The most recent software upgrade represents the most significant changes to the vehicle’s operation, specifically automating the navigation of intersections and city streets with the driver actively involved and paying attention.
From smartphones to in-home security systems, owning anything controlled by technology usually comes with automatic software updates. Video footage of the vehicle’s software updates while traveling reveals evidence that paints a different picture.
Potentially deadly downloads
Beta tests are being conducted by Tesla vehicle owners that involve new software downloads without getting their consent. Not only does the occupant in the car faces risks, but other vehicle operators and pedestrians not aware that testing is going on could also be seriously injured.
Many in the industry point to an accident three years ago involving an Uber self-driving test vehicle colliding with and killing a 49-year-old woman. The subsequent investigation revealed that the monitoring driver in the back seat was distracted and did not have time to override the system. That tragic event resulted in more strict internal safety policies in the testing of self-driving systems.
Tesla’s software competitors place limitations on software testing while a vehicle is moving. Instead of relying on their consumers who may or may not be aware of the updates, trained safety drivers operate the cars on private tracks. Those methods have become standard operating procedures instead of putting their own customers at risk of distractions or possible glitches in the new system.
Should Tesla continue their present course of action in software testing, industry experts encourage the company to pay close attention and monitor in real-time. The well-being and lives of their customers are at stake.