Beware Of Tesla Autopilot: It's A 'Considerable Traffic Hazard,' Warns German Study

The controversial Tesla Autopilot is under fire again, as a new study from Germany warns that it's a hazard.

Tesla's Autopilot has stirred quite some criticism and controversy recently, especially after reports of fatal car crashes blamed the autonomous system.



A new study from Germany's Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) now says that the Tesla Model S Autopilot feature is a "considerable traffic hazard," German publication Der Spiegel reports.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk defends his company's Autopilot system and dismisses such reports, arguing that Autopilot is in fact safer than manually driven cars.

@Cocoanetics @heiseonline Not actually based on science. Objective data shows Autopilot is safer than manually driven cars.

According to Tesla, its vehicles registered more than 130 million miles safely covered with Autopilot enabled before the first fatal Tesla car crash occurred. Statistically, one crash at more than 130 million miles beats the safety record for manually driven vehicles, which see a fatal car crash every 100 million miles in the United States, based on data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Der Spiegel, meanwhile, notes that the study was an internal one and therefore does not equate to a final evaluation.

The study follows a Tesla Model S accident that occurred late last month on a German highway, when the vehicle with Autopilot enabled crashed into a bus. The accident did not cause any fatalities, but the agency still felt compelled to assess the safety of Tesla's Autopilot.

According to the report, testers found a number of issues with Tesla's systems. For instance, the vehicle did not follow the road markings from a construction zone and when it had no road markings at all, it just followed the car in front of it.

At the same time, the German Autobahn has a number of stretches even where no speed limits apply, which constitutes a problem for Tesla's Autopilot system. Based on the report, the vehicle's sensors look roughly 40 meters behind, but no further. This means that if the Tesla car is driving at the standard 80 mph speed on the Autobahn and someone drives 125 mph or faster on the left lane, for instance, Tesla's 40-meter view behind it would not suffice.

Moreover, while Tesla markets its Autopilot feature as an assisted driving system and not fully autonomous technology, the report points out that the name leaves a different impression.

This is not the first time that the Autopilot name is questioned. Consumer Reports previously warned that calling the system "Autopilot" was misleading and potentially dangerous, as it lends consumers to believe it's fully autonomous rather than assistive driving.

Resource : http://www.techtimes.com/articles/181780/20161010/beware-of-tesla-autopilot-its-a-considerable-traffic-hazard-warns-german-study.htm

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