Tesla Motors recently introduced their 7.0 “Autopilot” software update for their Model S sedan with lane change and auto-steer capability. Of course, at this point, Tesla warns that the driver, and not Tesla or its software and systems, is still responsible for the ultimate control of the car.
The Model S is aware of its proximity to other cars and displays that information on the dashboard. This lays down the gauntlet to other cars manufacturers and will start a “leap-frog” battle going forward, beginning with the high end automobile manufacturers.
I have always advocated autonomous vehicles in place of so many humans who are texting, talking on the phone, and just plain distracted while driving—-robust electronics, software and sensors are far more reliable and will save lives and injury without a doubt. We are nowhere near the fully autonomous vehicle, but I applaud Tesla for this lane change effort and auto-steer capability. I think it will ultimately make drivers pay more attention than they do now. The software is still in its early stages, so drivers are warned to be aware of getting too comfortable.
Of course, there will still be those irresponsible people who will see these innovations as more of a reason to text and talk while in a car instead of fully focusing upon the road, but I do believe that the electronic sensor assists like Tesla is implementing will help drivers maintain safe distances from cars around them as well as preventing “blind-spot” accidents while lane changing.
Elon Musk says that the new system will also collect data from the driver and improve itself by remembering how fast drivers can safely go around a particular bend in the road and will also remember where stop signs are located (Can remember where stop signs are now, especially while being heavy in thought or conversation while driving?)
We still need to keep our hands on the wheel, Musk comments, and his autopilot system will have a chime to remind drivers if they let go of the wheel. He says that technically, fully autonomous vehicles are about three years away but that it will actually take regulators longer than that to test and approve it for the road.
Read these neat articles by Nuvation and Bill Schweber and me to see what their thoughts are about autonomous vehicles:
Please tell me how you feel about this technological advancement in automobiles?