TOO MUCH CONFIDENCE IN ELECTRONICS The latest is from last week: a couple of young Canadians asleep on the seats of a Tesla Model S as it proceeded at 140 km/h along the highway with the famous Autopilot in command (source: The Guardian). A stunt? A lightness? The fact is that, as demonstrated by news stories, too many people place excessive trust in semi-autonomous driving systems. Especially in Tesla's Autopilot which, however advanced it may be, is still not completely autonomous. Nor is it safe to leave him behind the wheel unsupervised. Yet another demonstration comes from China, where a Tesla Model 3 has spectacularly failed: not to drive alone, but to activate at the right moment a - far more banal - automatic emergency braking with pedestrian recognition.
NOT ONLY TESLA What happened is well documented by the video above and the Tesla Model 3 is neither the first nor the last car in which automatic emergency braking - especially when a pedestrian is in front - is not infallible. Watch the second video, which we share: the one below. In the box above it can be seen that another Model 3 subjected to a similar test to the previous one recognized the presence of an object in front of it, as evidenced by the red area shown on the screen in the center of the dashboard, but did so too late . During a study conducted in 2019 in the United States by the American Automobile Association (AAA, a sort of ACI of North America, with 60 million members) it has been seen that the problem is generalized and that no test vehicle was able to significantly and reliably mitigate the speed of impact with a pedestrian starting from 30 mph (48 km/h). Watch the video at the bottom of the article, in the photo gallery! None of the systems was then able to identify the obstacle at night, according to the study: if you want to read it in its entirety, you can download it in PDF format by clicking on the appropriate icon further down this page.
Tesla, in Germany the term Autopilot needs to be changed. Also in the UK?
Tesla Autopilot, false advertising? In the US it is Class action
Tesla Autopilot azzoppato: reduced functions for Europe
ADAS: BETTER TO HAVE THEM AND PRETEND NOT In short, the driver assistance systems are useful (and awarded by Euro NCAP for the purposes of the famous 5 stars) but they shouldn't be overestimated and shouldn't be abused. Beyond some "banfata" by the unscrupulous Elon Musk, Tesla itself, which even in the collective imagination is ahead of everyone in the development of self-driving cars, has always made it clear that Autopilot is not ready to operate in complete autonomy, nor is it safe to let them do it. It is no coincidence that in Germany and the UK they believe that its name should be changed, so as not to confuse users. Taking a step back, all ADAS driving aids, such as automatic emergency braking, must be understood as an extra safety, not something that can replace the attention, common sense and prudence of a real driver. Just like a commonplace knife, even the highest technology, if taken the wrong way, can do more harm than good.