Tesla autopilot seems not to be the best option if you want to travel without driving. There have already been at least two fatal accidents at Teslas with autopilot on, the first in 2016.
Earlier this month, an Apple engineer suffered a fatal accident within a Model X. This week a third crash was confirmed where once again the Autopilot function was active.
This accident occurred in Florida, where the National Transportation Safety Administration made a report confirming that the autopilot was connected in the accident. The model was the Tesla Model 3, one of the latest.
The truth is that it’s easy to point the finger at Tesla or the driver and sort the subject out. However, it is important to analyze what happened because it is more complicated than a mere distraction.
What led to the fatal accident
According to the report, the autopilot was active 10 seconds before the collision. Two seconds later, the Model 3 system registered the hands of the driver as not present on the steering wheel.
At first glance, it seems that it is the driver’s fault that he did not put his hands on the steering wheel. However, the Autopilot system requires that some force be applied for recognition. The driver could simply hold his hands on the steering wheel.
In any case, the conclusion we reached is that there has been a failure on both sides. The data show that no attempt was made to bypass or evade the driver or the Tesla Model 3.
Drivers do not seem to realize what Autopilot is
According to Tesla, the data show that when the driver takes proper care, autopilot works wonders. The key word here is attention and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Some people seem to have gotten the wrong notion of autopilot, maybe by watching videos where people do not get on the steering wheel at all. The Autopilot system is a driving aid, not a substitute for the driver.
Although we have already seen Tesla driving ‘alone’ in videos, they are just demonstrations of what we may have in the future. Currently, the system always requires an attentive driver and keep your hands on the wheel to avoid this type of accident.