‘Autonomous’ may be the automotive buzzword, but the technology is still in its infancy. Tesla has made it very clear that while its cars can function under autopilot, drivers are expected to ‘stay alert’. That means hands off the steering wheel, but eyes on the road. And even that isn’t legal in most countries.
It can maintain a safe distance from the cars ahead, brake if it senses it’s going to run into an object, and it can keep the car in its lane by reading the road lines. But it would seem this Tesla Model S driver had stayed up all night to ‘read between the lines’ and taken the Tesla’s independence to a whole new level.
The vehicle appears to be in autopilot while dragging its feet through traffic. But the feature is semi-autonomous, meaning it needs an attentive driver prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time. If something did go wrong, the car would alert the driver, and upon failure to take control, it would automatically activate its hazard lights and come to a stop.
It sounds safe enough, but there’s a lot these cars can’t do, like read stop signs or traffic lights for example. And don’t even get us started on the issue of obstructed sensors which caused this guy’s Model S to drive into the back of a tailer.
The video may well be a hoax, but there’s a moral to this story: fully autonomous cars are still around future’s corner, so stay awake behind the wheel if you want to see them arrive.