Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, recently unveiled new technology that would allow Tesla vehicles to be fully autonomous. Wired discusses many of the key points here. This tech is far ahead of competitors, and is currently being equipped on Tesla vehicles now. Additionally, Tesla would only need to send an over the air activation to allow drivers to utilize this awesome tech.
Right now Tesla claims it can have one of it’s vehicles drive from San Francisco to New York City without any driver input other than selecting a destination. No other manufacturer has claimed this. Additionally, Tesla released a video to boost it’s press release here. The video is edited; however, it shows that Tesla has something credible here.
Tesla has an enormous amount of driving data, because of the available Tesla Autopilot V1.0. This autopilot has gathered enough data for Tesla engineers to program, and equip vehicles with the necessary equipment to achieve the highest level of autonomy. Google is second in driving data, but is years behind releasing similar technology.
While allowing drivers the ability to use Tesla’s autopilot, there have been confirmed reports of fatalities. Statistically, 120 million miles per one death compared to without autopilot, 60 million miles per one death. So Autopilot v1.0 is certainly better than human driving already, imagine what full autopilot would do.
Overall, autopilot has significant value in our society. Over 30,000 people are killed each year in the United States from vehicular accidents. Autopilot could prevent driving error, and Elon Musk is attempting to have autopilot become two times better than a human.
Unfortunately, the federal and state regulation will slow the adoption of autopilot, “Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction”. We’re in the infancy of Autopilot for cars, but so were planes…