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Tech: How Foolproof Is Tesla’s Autopilot?

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by Kivi

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02.25.2021


A
Question of Trust & Technology

One of the most exciting aspects of a Tesla
isn’t that it’s battery-powered or fully electric—but the fact that it can
drive itself.

The autopilot feature seems like something out
of science fiction, but it’s quickly becoming one of the most exciting new
pieces of technology to emerge from the automotive industry in the last few
decades.

So, how foolproof is Tesla’s autopilot?

Tesla self-driving technology; pexels-roberto-nickson-2526127 (1)
Checking the road ahead

Levels of Automation

To understand Tesla’s autopilot feature, we
need to briefly review the levels of automation.

Almost every car on the road is Level 0—no
automation. If you are fully in control, you’re at Level 0. Adaptive cruise
control would fall under Level 1, while some partial driver assistance programs
fall under level 2. Tesla’s autopilot is technically level 2 automation,
because it does require the driver to remain aware and be ready to take over at
any time.

Level 3 is conditional, taking over most of
the driving tasks. Level 4 is high automation, where you can override the
autopilot if necessary or desired. Level 5 is full automation—these vehicles
might not even have a steering wheel once we reach that point.

How Does Tesla’s Autopilot
Work?

Tesla’s autopilot uses a combination of cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors to monitor the world around the vehicle, allowing it to effectively drive itself in limited situations. It isn’t as comprehensive as the full self-driving capability that Tesla also offers, which includes everything from navigation on autopilot to auto parking and even the ability to summon your vehicle. [Ed. note: Tesla does not use lidar, a sophisticated laser-based sensor, which many other autonomous vehicle developers depend on.]

Autopilot can steer and match the speed of
your car to surrounding traffic, helping to take the edge off, especially on
those long trips or boring commutes.

Benefits of Self-Driving Cars

While convenience is one obvious benefit, it
isn’t the only upside of the introduction of self-driving cars. Autonomous cars
could potentially reduce fatal traffic accidents by up to 90%,
in addition to reducing emissions, improving traffic patterns, and reducing
travel time—just to name a few.

Autonomous vehicles (Avs) may help you keep
more money in your wallet as well, thanks to potentially lower insurance rates.
The fact that self-driving cars are so effective at keeping people safe may reward self-driving car owners with
lower insurance premiums.

Tesla Autopilot; pexels-leonardo-gonzalez-6472212
Autonomous features could end up saving you money

Challenges Remaining

Self-driving cars might sound like an awesome
way to make the roads safer, but we’re still a ways off from having them take
over the majority of our daily commutes.

There are still a lot of problems on the
horizon, from getting AVs to communicate with each other, with drivers and with
pedestrians to determining who moves first at a
four-way intersection. They all prove challenging for even the savviest
engineers.

How Foolproof is Tesla’s
Autopilot?

So, how foolproof is Tesla’s autopilot?
Considering an artist once trapped one with a ring of salt,
we’ve still got a ways to go before it’s ready for mainstream use.

It’s a great move for the future, but for the
moment, technology hasn’t caught up with our imaginations just yet.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—More Tesla News

News: Tesla
Continues To Create Conflicting Data

Tech: Benchmarking
the Tesla Model Y

News: CA/China
EV Sales Tell Tesla Story

Update: Forget
Ford vs. Ferrari; It’s Ford vs. Tesla

The post Tech: How Foolproof Is Tesla’s Autopilot? first appeared on Clean Fleet Report.



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