Car Tech Tesla to dial back Autopilot mode in wake of "crazy videos on YouTube"

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

One of the great things about Tesla’s Model S is the ability to update the vehicle’s firmware over the air. That’s exactly what the electric car maker did a few weeks ago, making available a couple of semi-autonomous driving features designed to make travel a bit safer.

The new Autopilot feature is meant to be used under very specific scenarios. A disclaimer notes that while truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear. The driver is still responsible for and ultimately in control of the car.

Naturally, there are people out there that have failed to heed Tesla’s warning.

During a recent earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company is aware of many accidents that have been prevented thanks to Autopilot, adding that they aren’t aware of any that were caused by the feature.

Musk acknowledged that there have been some fairly crazy videos on YouTube, describing them as “not good.” As a result, he said Tesla will be putting some additional constraints in place that will limit when Autopilot can be activated in hopes of minimizing the possibility of people doing stupid stuff with it.

Tesla also revealed that vehicles with Autopilot engaged are collectively logging around a million miles a day and that the system learns over time, thus constantly bettering itself. Musk said he expects that within a few months, the system should really start to feel refined.

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TS Evangelist
That guys model S has a suicide wish! Wow, I would have had a heart attack if that happened to me!


TS Guru
Isn't the fault with the car that made the left turn?

I guess the situation would be akin to having a car suddenly lose control and flip into you when you're using the autopilot...


TS Guru
Recalling from another article, so grain of salt, but:

Driver was an Uber Taxi, basically doing Everything specifically against current Tesla guideline (you Must answer Yes to activate) of Only using it on divided Interstate. He is then passing stopped/stalled traffic at ~40mph. Stalled traffic opened up and the 'turning driver' was unable, due to road/rain, to perceive the closing Tesla against the backdrop of a sea of headlights, and so made their turn into the 'opening'.

The video is technically in Tesla's behalf in that the autopilot emergency stopped for the sudden blockage, then returned to speed with no driver intervention, something a Factor beyond its current proscribed functionality. I await the gopro showing its reaction to a deer at ~60mph, if it can do That it tops my list, and the Uber video shows that -might- be possible.