Self-driving cars not quite ready for prime time yet (video)

Posted on Monday, October 19 2015 @ 11:03 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
YouTube user RockTreeStar uploaded a video clip that illustrates how ignoring Tesla's cautions about the new AutoPilot feature nearly got his car crashed. The company warns to use AutoPilot exclusively on the highway, and says you need to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel at all times. Both cautions were ignored, with a nearly disastrous result:
I am the proud owner of a 2015 Tesla SP90D, purchased with all available options. It is the best car I have ever owned and I love it dearly. I also own a large chunk of Tesla stock. Today my car received the anticipated version 7 software update and I was anxious to try it out near my home. After several seconds of successful hands-free driving, I admit I started to ignore the warning to keep my hands on the wheel so that I could record the moment to share with friends.

That's when all hell broke loose. My car was tracking the car in front of me to successfully steer, but I was going slower and that car eventually drifted far ahead of me. Shortly after that, another car was coming in my car's direction from the opposite side of the road. I can only guess at what happened next. My car apparently thought the oncoming car was supposed to be followed, and suddenly veered to the left, crossing the double-yellow road divider line right into its path.

Had I not reacted quickly to jerk the steering wheel in the opposite direction, a devastating head-on collision would have occurred. I post this in the hopes that it will prevent any losses to anyone using AutoPilot in similar circumstances and in the sincere hope that Tesla can address the issue as soon as possible if the software can somehow be improved in detecting both oncoming vehicles and cross-traffic lane dividers to avoid steering into oncoming traffic.

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