It’s been about a week since Tesla rolled out its much-awaited Autopilot feature. In October 2014, the electric vehicle maker started fitting its Model S with ultrasonic sensors, camera, radar, and other hardware systems to enable the Autopilot. Several reviewers have tested the Autopilot and expressed their views on Tesla’s revolutionary technology.
Autopilot has a lot more confidence in its abilities than you do
Former Microsoft developer and YouTube reviewer Barnacules Nerdgasm (aka Jerry) drove a Tesla P85D on a 33-mile long road trip to experience the new technology. Nerdgasm said in a YouTube video that it’s easy to enable the feature, but he would pay full attention and keep his hands near the wheel at all times. Autopilot makes your ride a joy if you are going at slow speeds for long periods and distances.
Talking about a major difference between a human driver and Autopilot, Jerry said the AI system has “a lot more confidence in its abilities.” Jerry noted that he would start riding the brakes a lot earlier than the Autopilot does, but he wouldn’t call it a late breaker. During his 33-mile drive, he touched the wheel only twice, and only as a precautionary measure.
Driving a semi-autonomous Tesla is so unnatural
Michael Ballaban of Jalopnik says even though the current Autopilot is pretty much like a refined cruise control, the execution is simple and close to perfect. Claudia Assis of MarketWatch, who drove a semi-autonomous Model S, said it felt unnatural to give control to the AI system. She noticed several things that Autopilot was supposed to do, but didn’t. For instance, the system recognizes speed limit and other signs, but not red lights or stop signs. Anyway, she was impressed by how easy parallel parking becomes with Autopark.
Over the past few days, numerous fail videos of Tesla Autopilot have surfaced online. However, it’s not the vehicle’s fault as much as it’s drivers, says CNet. Elon Musk has clearly said that Autopilot is still in beta phase, and will get new capabilities with the software’s version 7.0. Tesla says that Autopilot is akin to that of planes. That means the driver is still in control of, and responsible for, the car. Truly driverless cars are still years away.