Reports of a Tesla crashing, catching fire and killing the two occupants in Texas have again raised issues about the perception and the reality of automated vehicle functions.
It’s reported that the car was traveling at speed and that no-one was sitting in the driver’s seat but Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, claimed that the car was not in autopilot mode.
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Full investigations are on-going but discussion about autonomous driving should at least consider that:
- Tesla has been strongly criticised for calling its system “autopilot” for although they may say and its documents note that drivers must keep their hands on the wheel, quite a few people think that this is unnecessary. Consequently, critics say, at best, it should be called “semi-autopilot”.
- The car crashed in a rural setting where line marking is limited or non-existent.
There can be a huge danger if perception exceeds reality.
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