Another Tesla Autopilot-related crash, another driver found ultimately to blame: that’s the conclusion after a Model S collided with a stationary fire truck last week.
The limitations – and even dangers – of semi-autonomous driving systems have yet again come to the fore after a 28-year-old woman was found to have placed a bit too much trust in the system, which apparently failed to see the massive red truck.
Having tried to pass control of the drive over to the car, the woman is said to have admitted to being busy with her phone just before the accident, in which she sustained a broken ankle despite making a too-little-too-late attempt to retake control.
While Autopilot’s capabilities are impressive, it seems like too many people are treating it as what its over-optimistic name implies. The truth is that the systems simply aren’t good enough yet to allow you to take your eyes off the road, which kind of makes their autonomous capabilities a little pointless. As assistance systems they’re brilliant, but as self-drivers? Hmmm.
Police Sergeant Samuel Winkler from the South Jordan Police Department in Utah said this in a press release:
“As a reminder for drivers of semi-autonomous vehicles, it is the driver’s responsibility to stay alert, drive safely, and be in control of the vehicle at all times.
“Tesla makes it clear that drivers should always watch the road in front of them and be prepared to take corrective actions. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death. Check with the vehicle’s owner manual to determine if this technology can be used on city streets or not.”