“Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is super keen on futuristic electric cars, but doesn’t yet trust Tesla’s autonomous driving technology.The Woz,” who drives a Tesla Model S, is concerned some people are mistaking Tesla’s current Autopilot system as a completely capable self-driving program. In reality, Tesla’s Autopilot feature is classified by the federal government as a “level two” autonomous driving system, which means the car is only partially automated, meaning it will steer itself, accelerate, and decelerate — but the driver must always be prepared to take control of the vehicle.
“Tesla has in people’s mind that they have cars that will just drive themselves totally, and it is so far from the truth, so they have deceived us,” Wozniak told CNBC at this week’s 20/20 Money conference in Las Vegas.
To Wozniak, the word “autopilot” is deceiving and potentially dangerous.
“Sometimes Teslas are dangerous because of what they call ‘Autopilot,'” he said. “You get thinking, ‘Oh, it is easy, I can reach over and not look for a few seconds,’ and that is the second your car drifts over the line.”
For its part, Tesla has emphasized its current Autopilot system is not completely autonomous. The company recently told CNN: “We will also continue to be extremely clear with current and potential customers that Autopilot is not a fully self-driving technology and drivers need to remain attentive at all times.”
Tesla, however, does have bold plans to produce fully self-driving vehicles, which the company believes will have a safety “at least twice as good as the average human driver.” In fact, beginning in October 2016, Tesla announced all of its future vehicles would be equipped with the hardware necessary for being totally autonomous self-driving machines. This means a car that will drive in all conditions, park itself, and even be ‘summoned’ from its parking space to pick you up.
To achieve this, Tesla fit its new cars (produced in the last year) with eight cameras that give the system 360-degrees of visibility, including a camera that can see over 800-feet ahead. These cars also come equipped with a forward-facing radar “that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.”
But Tesla’s self-driving software is lagging behind. In October 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted a Tesla would take an autonomous drive across the entire USA by the end of 2017. Now, Musk has backtracked a bit, saying in August, “It is certainly possible that I will have egg on my face on that front, but if it’s not at the end of the year it will be very close.”
Until then, Tesla’s autopilot still requires a driver’s careful attention — as pointed out by Wozniak.
“Driving my Tesla, over and over and over there are unusual situations on any road anywhere and every single human being alive — dumb or smart — would be able to get through it and the Tesla can’t,” he said.
Source : www.mashable.com
Author : Mark Kaufman