Tesla Autopilot Update Angering Some Owners

Photo credit should read JERRY LAMPEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo credit should read JERRY LAMPEN/AFP/Getty Images) /

There have been headlines about incidents involving Teslas with drivers using the autopilot feature. The carmaker updated the system and some owners are not happy.

In the latest update to the Tesla fleet, the advanced autopilot feature was given some safety changes. Those changes addressed the headline creating incidents when the feature is not properly used. For some, they feel the changes reduce the autopilot to no more than fancy cruise control.

With autopilot, the car senses whether the driver’s hands are on the wheel then warns if they are not. It will disengage the autopilot if warnings are not responded to. It also disables the system for the duration of time the car is in motion if warnings are ignored. The instructions for the autopilot feature clearly state the driver’s hands must stay on the wheel while the system is engaged.

For a company like Tesla, bringing the advanced feature into production is a risk. It is still defined as a beta feature. Meaning that is is still in development but testing at a mass level. Apple’s Siri for the longest time after its introduction was in the same beta category.

One of the headline-grabbing incidents occurred earlier in 2017 when a driver was improperly using the autopilot feature. There were youtube videos of the driver speeding along not paying attention to the road. Clearly not using the autopilot as Tesla has instructed.

More from Art of Gears

There were calls for Tesla to disable the feature to the entire fleet. Most of those calls came from people who had no knowledge or experience with the autopilot feature. In the time we now live, Tesla must be careful about the narrative that surrounds its product.

While the update addresses the issue of drivers staying aware while in the driver’s seat. Some believe it goes too far in disabling the system. It turns into a punishment instead of a reaction. Could you imagine of your cruise control disabled because you pulled your foot away from the pedal?

If the future of driving is autonomous vehicles, Tesla has provided a test bed for the technology. The issue becomes if there will ever come a time when we can fully trust computer control. Tesla was forced into the update by the reaction from people without knowledge. It is a bad sign for the future if this is how companies must react.