The autonomous car is getting closer and closer, and one of its main drivers is undoubtedly Tesla, which through its electric vehicles is revolutionizing this market segment. As you know, the brand has been testing the self-driving system (FSD) of its vehicles for months through a beta version that goes through stages before a full and widespread launch. So it is normal to see users who are testing them subjecting their EVs to real tests to perfect the technology.
A Tesla with nno person sitting in the driver’s seat crashed
During the night of Saturday, April 17, in the residential area of The Woodlands in Spring, Texas, a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree, igniting and causing two deaths. The preliminary police report states that no person was found sitting in the driver’s seat.
It is also said that the vehicle was traveling at high speed, that it lost control in a curve, colliding and immediately catching fire. Local media outlets were quick to headline the story as an accident involving a Tesla electric car with “autonomous driving”.
It’s that simple to activate without anyone at the wheel
After this news, some experts have tested the system by emulating the conditions reported in the accident. Tesla’s Autopilot system was “easily” tricked into driving with no one behind the wheel
Using a Tesla Model Y, Consumer Reports engineers were able to “drive” on a closed-circuit test track while sitting in the front passenger seat and in the rear seat. To trick the car’s driver assistance system, they attached a weighted chain to the steering wheel to simulate the pressure of a driver’s hands and used the speed dial on the steering wheel to accelerate from a complete stop. As long as they kept the driver’s side door closed and the driver’s side seat belt fastened (so that the system would not automatically disengage), the vehicle continued up and down the 800-meter track and following the lines of the painted lanes. during the experiment.
“In our evaluation, the system Not only couldn’t make sure the driver was paying attentionBut he also couldn’t tell if there was a driver at all, “he continued.
Apparently, the vehicle involved in Saturday’s fatal crash was a Tesla Model S, a different model from the one Consumer Reports used in its experiment. However, they both use the same Autopilot system, the publication notes.
Tesla defends itself by ensuring that its car is not fully autonomous
On Tesla’s support page for the system, the company reveals that its cars are not fully autonomous. It also cautions that, despite their names, its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require “active driver supervision.”
But those warnings have not stopped the Tesla drivers hand over control to their car’s Autopilot system while they sleep, they change seats or take their eyes off the road.