On the episode of 60 Minutes Sunday, 2018 December 9th, a video clip of the show’s host Leslie Stahl riding on the freeway in a red Tesla Model 3 with Tesla CEO Elon Musk was shown.
When Stahl asked Musk if he feels safe, with exuding confidence, Musk told her that he is. Then, he settled back into the driver’s seat while his hands were clasped together over his stomach, as he turned on the semi-autonomous feature of the car. Stahl could only utter, “Oh my goodness” as she watched with utter disbelief as Musk demonstrated Tesla’s new Navigate on Autopilot system.
Tesla’s Autopilot is so Advanced, It’s Going to Need Your Help
Tesla’s new Navigate on Autopilot system lets the car change lanes to pass slower vehicles all by itself. Its highly advanced software makes the car smart enough to be at the helm of the steering wheel and control speed without the driver’s involvement.
However, this high-tech software has only highlighted the significant issue that Tesla Company is facing as they rally towards bringing autopilot car technology on the road. Many people have become skeptical about the extent of the car’s involvement in the driving process.
The advanced Autopilot features of Tesla have only left the drivers confused about what the car is capable and incapable to do.
But Tesla has been repeatedly insisting that their cars’ technology is not an autonomous system. The driver manuals and the intelligent on-screen warnings of their cars are not meant to completely replace humans. Tesla claims that even with their advanced Autopilot feature, human drivers will still be responsible. Humans are still required to keep their hands on the steering wheel. The spokesperson for the company has even noted that the car is not yet capable of seeing stopped or parked fire trucks.
This seems far from what Elon Musk wanted to demonstrate on his interview on the episode of 60 Minutes, one of the most popular news shows in the country, though. On the show, Musk has clearly admitted that he was not driving anymore, saying he is not doing anything – an apparent deviation from what Tesla company has been repeatedly telling the public.
Furthermore, Musk has continued talking about Tesla’s goal of making cars fully autonomous and capable of driving themselves.
Tesla isn’t the only proponent of autonomous vehicles. Several automakers and tech sectors have the same desire to go straight for a driverless car technology, including Waymo and General Motors. Many of them have already rolled out their vehicles for road testing under carefully prescribed environment.
Meanwhile, Tesla has continued its efforts of adding advanced features to their cars using topnotch over-the-air software updates. At the same time, the company stands ground that the merits of their Autopilot system will still heavily rely on the vehicle’s driver. The savvy assistance features of the car could help make driving on the road safe. But only if the driver understands the limitations of the car and, uses its features properly.