Tesla CEO Elon Musk finally gave up his patience and responded to the Model S Autopilot videos in which drivers are seen misusing the Autopilot feature and driving recklessly. Musk, during the automaker’s earnings call yesterday, said, “This is not good.”
Tesla may put “constraints” on Autopilot mode
Musk suggested that to minimize the possibility of drivers misusing it, Tesla could put some constraints to the Autopilot mode. “And we will be putting some additional constraints on when Autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it,” Musk said.
Based on Tesla’s early data, Musk claimed the feature has helped in preventing many accidents and that there is not a single known instance when the Autopilot mode has resulted in an accident though there are few instances when drivers have come really close to having one. On some of the errors reported in the system, Musk said they should not be a surprise.
“The system will learn over time and get better and that’s exactly what its doing. It will start to feel quite refined within a couple of months,” Musk said.
For extra safety, Tesla suggests that drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel even when they are running the vehicle on the Autopilot mode.
Autopilot: hit or miss?
Tesla’s Autopilot mode is available currently on roughly 40,000 Model S cars, but it is just a beta release. Musk said that R&D is being funneled into self-driving technologies rapidly, and it seems that in the next 15 to 20 years, all cars will be fully autonomous.
The Tesla CEO made no mention of when users will get to see the new features of Autopilot or what they will entail, but it wouldn’t be wrong to expect checks on speed limits and occupancy.
All misuses of the feature does not mean the Autopilot has been a complete mess. In Musk’s opinion, it has been a resounding success. Musk says autopilot-equipped cars have covered almost a million miles of robotic driving on a daily basis, and the end results have been positive.
On Wednesday, Tesla stock closed up 11.17% at $231.63. Year to date, the stock is up by over 4% while in the last one month, it is down by over 6%.