Tesla Steps Into Autopilot Game

By: John Vallerand

Do you ever get tired of driving long distances? Would it be cool to be able to sit back, relax and be ready to go when you arrive at your destination? Well that dream is just around the corner thanks to the Tesla Motor Company. Tesla, as a lot of people know, is an innovative car company that offers a fully electric car called its Model S. The chief executive Elon Musk just announced that the new Model S is going to be equipped with hardware that enables autopilot.

The new Model S with autopilot features allows drivers to rely on the car in situations in which focus is lost. The new features include things like highway driving, gap control, stopping, emergency breaking, blind spot warning, collision warnings, parking, and according to Musk, with the new software update the cars can even be summoned and garage themselves through the use of a smartphone. Another issue that drivers face with the car being electric is the fear that they are going to run out of battery power. So a nice tool that’s going to be introduced with the release of the new software update is the ability of the car to monitor itself with trip management. This means that when traveling long distances the car will plan routes to hit charging station where needed to complete the trip.

Some of Tesla competitors like Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, and Honda have already launched features like the autopilot, where the cars can do highway driving, some cap control and collision features. Tesla is taking it one step further to the point where the car can be summoned and warmed up with the use of smart devices. The only thing I can see that poses a threat for the new car is the legal issue with states allowing self driving cars and the liability for insurance companies. As its clearly stated in the article, at this point in time, the self-summoning feature will strictly be allowed on private property. On the insurance end, in the situation of accidents, it’s going to be very unclear who’s at fault: the car or the person inside. Liabilities for this issue will need to be worked out with the insurance companies.

I believe this concept for the autopilot, overall, is great for Tesla. It’s good because people can get distracted when driving and this allows a good safety backup for those situations. It also opens up a new market that has been a dream for years to some people. Once this new service gets out this summer, I believe it’s going to impact all the major car companies to continue launching similar vehicle hardware and software.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/20/business/elon-musk-says-self-driving-tesla-cars-will-be-in-the-us-by-summer.html?_r=0

7 thoughts on “Tesla Steps Into Autopilot Game

  1. Cody J. Russell March 27, 2015 / 4:48 am

    To answer the first question asked, yes. I have had to drive 6 hours 2 different ways to only be where I was going for 8 hours. In other words, I totally understand why this has become Tesla’s new “innovation.” Nowadays, people (including me) have many reasons for not wanting to drive. Some of these may include tiredness/fatigue, busyness, or simply laziness/no desire to do something that requires full attention. Tesla is definitely the leader of this race for an autopilot car. They may be the apple of cars, or in other words expensive, but they too carry a quality and reliability which will attract many buyers. The summoning feature is totally awesome. My brothers always told me growing up that by the time I would be able to drive that cars would drive themselves and although they may not be 100% accurate, they were definitely correct! No comes the only negative I can find and the first thing that came to mind at the start of this article. I feel that there will need to be some type of camera evidence or “use history” of auto pilot because the 17 year old who crashes his parents car could easily try to blame it on this new feature. Not only that, there could be a small issue with any of the cars to where it malfunctions and it only takes 1 issue of the thousands of cars produced to make a bad situation for Tesla. I am curious to see how they handle liabilities both before the car is driven and after an accident or situation. Although this is such a great feature, I do believe that people may become helpless when it comes to driving. People today tend to abuse privileges/features such as this and I am nervous if people lose their driving abilities what will happen if they are put in a situation to actually drive a car. I guess most people will still have cars in which cruise control is the only automatic feature, but I still think we should really be careful when the day comes that the majority of cars drive themselves. We need to make sure we don’t lose our everyday capabilities because of technology just as the ability for most people to spell words has been harmed by the auto-correct feature. All in all, this is a great advancement in technology. We just need to make sure we don’t “overuse” it. And although other companies are looking into/launching experiments with this feature, Tesla will always have be the “first on the scene” so to speak and will always be known as the brand that started autopilot.


  2. Kendra Van Pelt March 29, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    The idea of the self-driving car has been around for a while now, but of the first time in history, a car company is making very significant strides in making the concept a reality. Tesla is known as the innovative car company and is now stepping up their game to a whole new level. The introducement of a self-driving car will be exciting; people will be very excited to become one of the first to drive the new car. And while the car does come with much excitement, it will also come with a lot of questions. Liability will likely play a huge play – consumers are unsure if it will be the car’s fault or their own. If a driver gets into an accident and fault still remains on them, is this car really worth to buy yet? It may have some awesome features, but if a consumer still has to watch the awesome features to do their work (and make sure they don’t crash into anything), is the car worth it? For many consumers, yes. They want the newest and most innovative product. They want to be at the forefront of the self-driving industry. Many consumers will view the extra features as an extra means of precaution and safety, while maybe also providing some ease to their driving experience. However, other consumers may be hesitant and want to wait for the real deal – when it will be the car’s fault for crashing into something. Another huge factor to consider is state laws and regulations – if states will allow these cars, and future, more advanced cars, to drive – and what will the regulations be set upon them? States may not agree with each other. For example, what happens if Minnesota and Missouri allow self-driivng cars, but Iowa doesn’t? If an individual is attempting to drive through Iowa from Missouri to get to Minnesota, they will be stuck at the Iowa border. Likely, states will be cooperative and this situation will hopefully not occur; but is just another point to take into consideration. The world of self-driving cars is quickly advancing upon us and it will be extremely interesting to see how it unfolds.


  3. william matthews April 16, 2015 / 3:01 am

    I feel as though this new software will change the autopilot game. Currently, there is a high demand for making driving more efficient. People don’t want to drive 3 hours to their destination, they would much rather sit back with leisure and have the car do the driving. This is why there is such high opportunity in this market. But there is also a lot of liability because if the car malfunctions somebody could die. I think the idea of summoning the car by your smartphone is an awesome idea. In the morning when people wake up they’d read getting in a cold car and having to warm it up. The current market does not have any of the new features the Model S does which is why I believe Tesla will be able to revolutionize the market.


  4. Josh Peterson April 21, 2015 / 1:30 am

    The auto-pilot concept is a great one that I personally believe will become a common occurrence in the future. In response to that concerns over legality and fault that will certainly be a hurtle for Tesla to overcome. There will likely be many test in order to develop standards in programming an functionality. Assuming that Tesla conforms to any regulations put in place their should not be a problem there. In terms of whose at fault I don’t think there is much of a question that whoever is behind the wheel would still be at fault. In the event that no one is is actually behind the wheel my assumption would be to go to the owner or whoever the owner allowed to use the vehicle. There is clearly many factors that Tesla will need to deal with in the future but it seems to have a good shot.


  5. Ryan Etter April 27, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    Now i already know that Tesla is a major company that has the reputation and money to sponsor a campaign like this. Yet i feel that legality and development will be the greatest hardships. What happens if someone got into an accident who is responsible you or the automative system? There is a market for this i also read google was formulating an automated car so we will have to see who makes this automotive breakthrough first and start the auto pilot game.


  6. James Wagner April 28, 2015 / 3:20 am

    Tesla is an amazing automobile company that has the lead in automobile technology. With that being said, The idea of an autopilot car is A LOT of new technology. I think there are too many variables when putting an autopilot car in the mix with normal cars and people driving them. A lot of things can go wrong in the outside world. There is a lot of liabilities that Tesla might not be prepared to deal with yet. This autopilot market is too unpredictable that market might just reject the idea because getting people to trust in technology enough to put their lives in a metal car and put it next to 90 mph other drivers. It might be a little too futuristic, but the idea is great!


  7. Blake Boudreau April 28, 2015 / 3:21 pm

    The concept of an auto pilot car is very cool and fascinating. Although, with that being said I feel that this type of automobile can be dangerous at times because what if the technology goes wrong? I think that its too early to rely on technology to simply get you from one place to another. Therefore, this car should be devloped over a long period of time to make sure that there are know problems with technology. I do feel as if Tesla is the right company to market this type of car and I think if they take time with this auto pilot car they will haver sucess.


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