Published: July 13, 2016 | New York
Tesla’s vision of autopilot feature is of a lifesaving technology that can be implemented successfully with proper education to drivers.
Tesla has no plans to disable the autopilot feature in its models, despite different accidents because of it. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, founder Elon Musk told that instead of removing the feature from new models, the company has plans to redouble efforts to educate customers on how the system works.
According to Musk, majority of people are not able to understand the basic concept behind the autopilot feature and thus, they are not able to use it efficiently. Therefore, the company is now planning to publish an explanatory blog post that highlights how Autopilot works and what drivers are expected to do after they activate it. This move will help them get adequate education on the subject.
This statement by Elon Musk comes after a recent crash of Tesla Model S, where the driver was using self-driving system at the time of the accident. The first known fatality connected to the Autopilot system is currently being investigated by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Following the probe, NHTSA has disclosed a nine-page letter requesting documents and details of additional crashes involving Tesla’s Autopilot.
Last year, when the autopilot feature was launched, Tesla called it a beta feature, which was designed so that the system is off by default until a driver activates it. It says beta specifically so people do not become complacent, Mr. Musk said. He also said disclaimers provided to drivers are written in super plain language.
Providing a clarification on the recent accident, Tesla said that it was the first fatal crash in more than 130 million miles driven with Autopilot since the system made its debut in October. It happened when the car’s system failed to distinguish the truck’s white trailer from a bright sky, so the vehicle’s automatic emergency brake didn’t activate.
In spite of all the explanation, worries have surfaced that the feature actually has some faults, including not being able to recognize cars halted on the road, and that drivers are being lulled into a false sense of safety and not watching the road.