Tesla Autopilot – A Cautionary Tale

I have covered the Autopilot in detail before. While it works great on divided highways and in stop-and-go traffic, I’ve seen many attempts to use it in situations that the system has not been designed for, such as narrow and windy roads and two-lane highways. While the passing scenery might be serene and provide the driver with a blissful feeling, it should not be confused with what the system is capable of in its current form.

Before enabling the driver assist features in Tesla vehicle, the driver has to acknowledge the following:

Autopilot_disclaimer

Regardless, many people ignore it and push their luck instead. To make it worse, many Tesla owners will publish their accomplishments online for everyone to see, without providing a word of caution. This provides the audience with a false sense of security and trust that the system is flawless and can handle even the most challenging scenarios. Not quite, as proven as this tragic accident in 2016.

I guess every driver has their favorite road, one that helps them to relax and offers a joyful experience. I am no different and occasionally enjoy to take my cars on such a route where I can be by myself, absorbing what landscape has to offer and forgetting about daily issues, if only for a while. The route I am so familiar with (every car I have ever owned had a pleasure to travel on it) that it almost feels like I could drive there with closed eyes. Engaging the Autopilot surely sounds like a tempting idea in such a situation. Should you then?

Here is a video that should help to answer this. It covers about 30 miles of curvy 2-lane highways and farm-to-market roads. Exactly the type of roads Tesla is cautioning the drivers against. While the car was able to handle most of the journey just fine, there were a handful of situations that could lead to a dangerous incident if the driver was not alert and prepared to overtake immediately. It is lengthy but I encourage everyone to spend some time watching it as it demonstrates how quickly a peaceful drive can turn into a disaster with dire consequences. Don’t use the Autopilot against what it was intended for! Be responsible and stay safe!

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