After the NHTSA investigation, Tesla’s Autopilot is once again being talked about, and this time it’s the US Secretary of State for Transportation who describes its name as problematic.
Tesla’s driver assistance systems regularly make headlines and that mainly comes down to two things: Elon Musk’s propensity to portray them as “self-driving” with or without a quote or “on the verge of being self-driving”. with metronome regularity since 2016, but above all names used themselves. The first option level, billed at €3,800, is indeed called “Enhanced Autopilot”, while the second is the “fully autonomous driving capability” which is exchanged for €7,500. Neither one, which can be translated as “automatic pilot”, a device for automatically driving a vehicle without human intervention commonly used in particular in aeronautics, nor the other, whose name is nevertheless obvious, exceeds however level 2 of autonomous driving in the nomenclature defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) which has 5, which other manufacturers, such as Mercedes, manage to do.
Tesla itself is also ultimately very clear on the subject since this is what can be read just below the order form: “the current functionalities require active monitoring on the part of the driver and do not return the vehicle autonomous “. The second level of the option is therefore, literally, a “fully autonomous driving capability” which “does not make the vehicle self-driving”, all the vagueness being concentrated in the word “capability”. Personally, I can run a marathon in under two hours, but not now.
Beyond the simple meaning of words and respect for their meaning, the problem is above all that this places drivers in a false impression of total safety which can lead to dangerous behavior ranging from simple lack of attention to making a nap at the wheel or sit in the back seats, as has been observed.
” It is a matter of common sense “
Comments screaming jealousy, indiscriminate hatred or financial submission to other automakers are sure to pile up under this article, but none will be signed by Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of State anyway. American in charge of Transport. Interviewed in Washington by Bloomberg News, the politician does not mince his words: “I wouldn’t call something ‘autopilot’ if the manual clearly says that you have to have both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at any moment. I’m not referring to the NHTSA investigation, I’m just saying it’s common sense and I think it’s concerning.”
Last month, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationthe equivalent of Road Safety across the Atlantic) has indeed announced that Tesla is recalling 360,000 vehicles, because the FSD Beta (Full-Self Driving, which is called “fully autonomous driving capability” in France with more functions unlocked) would increase the risk of an accident. Following this reminder, adding the option is no longer possible for new buyers or those who have not yet received the update, but those who already have it can continue to use it.
In addition, the NHTSA is looking for possible defects in the system and in particular wants to verify the methods used by Tesla to ensure the attention of the driver, while the United States Department of Justice is investigating possible misleading statements that the manufacturer of electric cars could have done on its driving assistance systems.
Tesla forced into massive US recall