There has always been public concern regarding the case of a new Tesla's feature, Autopilot. It appears that the supposedly "automatical" Autopilot cannot fully control the car, as multiple car crashes were reported. The explanation video below from the insurance company Thatcham would give us an insight into the problem.
State-of-the-art technology still causes fatal accidents, why?
From the beginning, this has actually been warned by the Tesla, that it never replace human drivers entirely. They clearly stated that despite its name, the Autopilot is only semi-auto and therefore has many shortcomings. The driver would hence should not exclusively rely on the feature and still has to firmly focus on the road, as one lapse in concentration could prove fatal.
With that said, the main responsibility falls on the human driver, not the software. Ironically, that's the exact opposite reason why someone buys a Tesla. They simply want to turn on the feature and let the car driving on its own (and maybe take a nap after). This is particularly dangerous as current technology has not achieved such marvelous technology like that.
You can do this, yes, but only for a short while, not the entire trip!
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The problem, though, is not unique to Tesla's Autopilot feature but present in all semi-auto models in the market. In fact, all of them would fail the Thatcham test were it given to them. In the test, the tester from Thatcham turned on the Autopilot feature in an ideal road condition, only to see it crash into a fake car at the middle of the road.
Prior to the test, a representative from Tesla commented:
"Tesla has always said that Autopilot is not a miracle tool that can prevent all accidents". "And if they were not paying attention, accidents are inevitable".
He also confirmed that all their customers are well aware of the limitations of the feature, but somehow accidents resulted from the overreliance on Autopilot still happen. The firm Thatcham has the same conclusion.
Research conducted by the firm Thatcham test the effectiveness of the Autopilot feature
To conclude, Thatcham emphasizes once again on the limitation of Tesla software and every other semi-auto system.
"These programs are only supposed to support the driver and cannot replace them entirely, drivers should always concentrate heavily on the road to assure the safety of themselves and other passengers on their car."