Let’s talk about Autopilot and how Tesla can destroy the ambition to commercialize autonomous cars

why your brand-new luxury saloon is not able to drive “alone” without you put your hands on the wheel, on the motorway? Why Tesla yes you can do this? Do brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, etc., may not offer this technology in products that often approaching (or even exceeding) 100,000€? If you think about it carefully, a Tesla Model S uses no necessarily a technology far more advanced than we can find in other sedans of luxury modern (essentially we are talking about a control of the steering and the pedals, and a series of sensors to monitor the presence of other cars, and the lines on the road). That being said, why so much enthusiasm with Autopilot? What we are faced with the gamble more risky than Elon Musk? why from other brands, is fearing that Tesla has gone too far, by releasing this technology before the society was ready for it?

Mashable publish these days an article in which they quote a phrase from Stephen Boulter, Project Manager of the Jaguar XF, talking about Autopilot, and the great fear that has been awakened among many engineers: “if something happens (with Autopilot), could cause the technology is delayed for a decade”. Boulter believes that the fact that the use of Autopilot – god forbid – ends up in a tragedy could cause the deployment of the autonomous car is delayed a decade more. And – frankly – we do not believe that his words to hide envy of Tesla Motors, nor much less, but normal concerns in manufacturers aware that a false move can mean a coup, virtually irreparable, for its credibility as a brand.

And we know that by the head’s own Elon Musk have already passed similar thoughts. Especially when we find that, following the launch of Autopilot, began to emerge on Youtube countless videos in which we witnessed the stupidity and irresponsibility of some users, who had to confront situations of great danger by making an improper use of the technology.


The problem, in short, is not by Autopilot, but the user unconscious that you intend to use this technology is intended only to journeys on motorway and dual carriageway – roads for which it has been designed. Autopilot does not make the Tesla Model S becomes an autonomous car, although it automates the driving on the road. And do not understand this question may end up, as a minimum, in very serious accidents in which the Autopilot is considered the culprit, and not the driver who made an irresponsible use of the technology that had between hands.

The autonomous car has always been in question, and what will be. For a sample of the comments in this and other media to the thread of the journey he made just a few days ago the prototype of Citroën, between the cities of Vigo and Madrid. Drivers we are concerned that a machine share the road with us, without the intervention of a human. But ironically we rarely worry that we are cruzándonos daily with drivers that it is sometimes difficult to understand which have obtained permission to drive, with drivers that carry a handful of glasses of the more, did not sleep well that night, or they are so stressed that they put a steering wheel between his hands is a real danger.

Would be sufficient in an accident using Autopilot, even without the guilty, the technology of it, to the public, and therefore legislators, opposed all resistance to the arrival of the autonomous car.

Elon Musk knew that their technology was ready to face the challenge. But maybe he overestimated the ability of their customers to know at what point in time can be used Autopilot, and at what point in time does not (for which there is always the solution of adding limitations by the software). But above all, it got its customers to understand that Autopilot, for the time being, does not make the Tesla Model S is autonomous, and that the responsibility – with Autopilot, or without it – it is always the driver.

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