So, it looks like Teslas might be capable of ‘full self-driving’ by the end of the year. While our car guy side is no doubt excited, the other half of us wearing the tinfoil hat has only one word in mind: “Skynet.”
Okay, okay. We probably won’t have a full-on Rise of the Machines situation on our hands here (or at least we hope so). Regardless, US authorities aren’t taking any chances.
According to a report by Reuters, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement that it will be monitoring the roll-out of the carmaker’s new tech “closely,” and that the agency “will not hesitate to take action to protect (the) public against unreasonable risks to safety.”
The agency added that, based on investigations into 19 crashes involving Tesla vehicles, it believed “some form of advanced driver assistance system was engaged at the time of the incident.”
The NHTSA statement comes as Tesla released a “full self-driving” upgrade to some “expert, careful” drivers ahead of a wider software release toward the end of 2020.
Tesla’s website instructs owners to “stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and maintain control of your car” when using the company’s autopilot features. This hasn’t stopped drivers from abusing the technology, though.
“Autopilot is a hands-on driver assistance system that is intended to be used only with a fully attentive driver. It does not turn a Tesla into a self-driving car nor does it make a car autonomous,” the Tesla autopilot FAQ reads.
“Before enabling Autopilot, you must agree to ‘keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times’ and to always ‘maintain control and responsibility for your car.’”
What’s your take on Tesla’s self-driving software? Do you think authorities are paying enough attention to the potential dangers of such tech? Let us know in the comments.