Tesla became the first carmaker in the world to build launching autopilot and full self-driving vehicles in 2014.
Manual suggests, features of autopilot cars manage many things but still needs all time supervision of drivers.
While the vehicles have won praise and a passionate fan base, the electric carmaker and it’s CEO, Elon Musk, can't seem to avoid controversies and the company still able to reach a market value of $100 billion.
Elon Musk discussed the autopilot system publicly back in 2013 as "Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars." It is nothing but a system that enhances safety and convenience behind wheels. Musk compares self-driving cars to elevators, which once upon a time required an elevator operator.
"Now no one wants an elevator operator because the automated elevator stops at the floors and it's much safer than the elevator operator,"
- Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla.
The company debuted its semi-autonomous driving system, called Autopilot, back in 2014. It employs an array of cameras and both radar and ultrasonic sensors located around the car and essentially incorporates the car’s suite of driver-assistance features to enable rudimentary self-driving on the highway.
Tesla cars that are built between 2014 to 2016 include one camera and less powerful radar and ultrasonic sensors. Cars that are built after 2016 have 8 external cameras, a radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a powerful onboard computer. These additional devices provide an additional layer of safety
to guide people on their journey and reduces the overall workload as a driver.
There are two Autopilot packages available for purchase from Tesla which is
1) Autopilot Capability.
2) Full Self-Driving Capability.
These features are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.
Let’s deep dive into knowing the features of both.
Basically autopilot system is a suite of driver assistance features that can be purchased before you buy your car or after it’s been delivered, and brings new functionality to your Tesla car that makes driving safer and less stressful.
Traffic aware cruise control
: This feature matches the speed of the car to that of the surrounding traffic.
: Assists in steering within a clearly marked lane, and uses traffic-aware cruise control.
Employing an array of sensors, the basic autopilot system can maintain a safe distance from the traffic ahead via automatic throttle and braking inputs, and keep the car centered between the lane markers via ongoing steering adjustments. This version of the system is priced at $3,000 if installed before delivery, and $4,000 if added later via a downloadable upgrade. This system demands the driver to either maintain hold of the steering wheel or at least grab onto it every so often to let it know the person driving is paying attention.
The autopilot system is labeled as level two autonomy according to self driving scale of NHTSA
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Autopilot cannot anticipate roadway hazards Drivers need to be ready to take over the driving aggressively. For buying, the full version of Autopilot costs $5,000 before taking delivery and $7,000 afterward.
Full Self Driving Capability:
Tesla’s full self-driving assistance system is believed to be at least twice as good as the average human driver. The company says an upgrade is coming at the end of 2019 and people are eagerly waiting to see the long promised feature to roll out.
Navigate on Autopilot
: This feature actively guides the car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting lane changes, navigating interchanges, automatically engaging the turn signal and taking the correct exit.
Auto Lane Change
: Assists in moving to an adjacent lane on the highway when Auto steer is engaged.
: Helps automatically park your car parallel or in perpendicular, with a single touch.
: This feature moves your car in and out of a tight space using the mobile app or key.
The upcoming additional upgrades to these capabilities of full self driving car will involve the features that will recognize and respond traffic signals. It may also provide the capability of automatic driving on the city streets as it is limited to use on interstate highways.
Controversies of Tesla’s Driving Systems
Tesla aims to dominate the auto market world by building the world’s first self-driving car and it believes autopilot can be the first step towards it. Customers have adored the idea of driving with less burden and this set record of car deliveries by Tesla
. While driving on autopilot mode it is instructed in manual that drivers not to fully dependent and closely supervise the car at all the times. But this has not stopped some from doing other work while driving and causing many road accidents. Though the reason being told as cause of many accidents is unintended acceleration in the cars which is denied by the CEO
. Apart from this, there are many other controversies about Tesla
which are listed.
"It's important to emphasize we'll never be perfect. Nothing in the real world is perfect. But I do think that long term; it can reduce accidents by a factor of 10. So there are 10 fewer fatalities and tragedies and serious injuries. And that's a really huge difference." Musk said.
Despite the controversies, recently Tesla has become the first U.S. carmaker that crossed 100 billion market value