A couple of days back we wrote that Tesla‘s new model S will be featuring an autopilot mode that will go live on October 15 – today. Well, now we have the first reactions, and they’re amazing.
First of all, it has to be said that this is not a driverless car – the driver has to be inside and from time to time, he still have to make a decision. For example, when the ‘Autopilot’ software doesn’t have enough data to properly steer the car, it will alert you to either “hold the steering-wheel” or “take control immediately”. But you get to see the cars ahead and behind you in real time, and the best thing is that the car does the most boring part of driving for you – it slows down when there’s a red light or someone in front of you, it can read road signs and traffic lights… it’s basically what the name says: it’s an autopilot.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO explained the difference between autopilot and driverless:
The interviewer here clearly doesn’t understand what mister Musk is saying – a driver still needs to be there at all time and take responsibility for the driving, but (and this is a big but) this will reduce accidents, because the software is excellent at keeping a constant distance from other cars and is much more efficient at staying safe than the average driver.
Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!