Some Tesla owners are too trusting of autopilot
Last week, Tesla upgraded its fleet over the air to bring autopilot (including autosteer, which is still in beta) to all Model S electric cars built in the past year (older cars don’t have all the necessary hardware). During the announcement, Elon Musk did stress that autopilot isn’t autonomous in the way research cars from companies like Google or Audi (or even Stanford University) are. Rather, it’s at level two (out of four) on NHTSA’s scale of self-driving car.
Despite this, some Tesla drivers out there don’t seem to have fully absorbed that fact… or that Tesla have said they accept no liability for collisions that happen in autopilot mode. As discovered by the nice people over at Fusion, it seems Tesla drivers have been videoing their autopilot experiences, including several near misses.
Autopilot (and similar features from Audi, Volvo, and others) are extremely useful for long freeway journeys. But we at Ars Technica would be remiss if we didn’t point out that, for now, if you’re behind the wheel you are still legally responsible for your car’s behavior on the road. Autosteer (which some have pointed out is a misleading name) is still only beta software, remember. Keep those hands on the wheel and those eyes on traffic, please!