Self- driving cars seem like a futuristic advancement to make cars safer, drivers more attentive and to prevent accidents from happening. Recently there have been many debates over whether or not the self- driving cars increase or decrease safety. Tesla Motor’s Model S is thought to be the safest car on the road and most advanced car due to its new feature autopilot. Or is it?
Tesla’s Autopilot system uses cameras, radar, computers to detect objects and automatically brake if the car is about to hit an object and it also can steer the car to keep it centered in its lane. The company says that before Autopilot can be used, drivers must acknowledge that it’s an “assist feature” that requires both hands on the wheel at all times and that drivers must be prepared to take over at any time. Digital control of motors, brakes, and steering helps avoid collisions from the front and sides, and prevents the car from wandering off the road.
In June of 2016, a tragic loss occurred on a highway with a Tesla Model S in Autopilot when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. In this case, the digital control of the brakes failed and did not help to avoid a collision. Federal investigators have been looking into Tesla Motor’s Model S to detect any other possible failures that could occur. There are plenty of positive and negative factors to consider in a world with self-driving vehicles but since this new technology is still not fully operational drivers must remain with their hands on the wheel and seat belts buckled.