Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) represented a game-changer that ushered in a new era for the automotive industry. Once thought to be an innovation developed well into the future, the advanced driver systems no longer look promising.
The company recently told U.S. lawmakers that Autopilot requires constant monitoring with the driver being attentive at all times. The revelation was in response to U.S. Senators raising “significant concerns” over the systems developed by the electric-car maker in early February. Tesla’s response took the form of an admission.
A troubling picture
Tesla’s statement came in the form of a letter sent to senators in March, admitting the need for attentive driving. The letter said several of the Dynamic Driving Tasks could not be performed by drivers. The automaker is already the subject of multiple investigations. Lawmakers claim a “troubling picture” that sees Tesla continually releasing software that lacks full consideration of risk and potential consequences.
In the end, Tesla drivers and anyone else sharing the road are put at significant risk due to a feature that facilitates drivers taking a “hands-off” approach to hold the steering wheel. The automaker claims that their torque-based and hands-on-wheel detection requires attentive driving.
Tesla testing continues
Tesla testing marches on. The launch of an FSD system test version allowed cars to navigate city streets. The successful study resulted in expansion to 60,000 users. The blowback was immediate and significant, with claims of technology safety testing in the hands of untrained drivers traveling on public roads.
The perpetual work-in-progress approach employed by the automaker continues to raise concerns, if not create continuous catastrophe for drivers who suffer injuries and death due to overreliance on Tesla technology.