Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently shared a video of a Tesla owner blatantly disregarding the company’s safety instructions with his hands off of the steering wheel of a Tesla vehicle on autopilot mode.
Tesla’s “autopilot” mode has been a contentious feature in the world of electric vehicles for some time. The actual feature is more like an advanced cruise control that is meant to be used on highways where the vehicle should automatically switch between lanes and monitor speed limits, all while the driver is explicitly told to stay alert and keep both hands on the wheel while autopilot is engaged.
One driver decided instead to sit with his hands off of the steering wheel of the vehicle as it continued to drive, making a video of the experience. These reckless actions are explicitly prohibited by Tesla, which even has a notification on the vehicle’s dashboard instructing the driver to keep both hands on the wheel while in autopilot mode — instructions obviously disregarded by the vehicle owner as can be seen in the video below:
Im amazed. My car drove me practically all the way home, with no input from me, changing lanes, merging on and off of 3 highways, in rush hour, in the rain, in NYC traffic!!! Stunned. @Tesla @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/HC7mql5wYl
— Dr. Camilo Ortiz (@DrCamiloOrtiz) April 6, 2019
But rather than noting that this dangerous behavior is not approved by Tesla, the company’s CEO Elon Musk shared this video on Twitter as an example of the vehicle’s advanced self-driving capabilities:
The Tesla Full Self-Driving Computer now in production is at about 5% compute load for these tasks or 10% with full fail-over redundancy https://t.co/fTseO2JyVp
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2019
This isn’t the first time Musk has blatantly disregarded his own company’s safety advice, even taking his hands off the wheel himself during a demonstration of the “autopilot” feature. The Verge discussed Musk’s claims that Tesla vehicles are self-driving in an article, writing:
The problem is that Navigate on Autopilot is not “full self-driving,” not even on the highway. No car on the road today can completely drive itself — that includes Teslas. Last October, Tesla suddenly yanked the “full self-driving” option from its website, claiming it was “causing too much confusion” for customers to justify keeping it front and center, Musk said at the time. So for Musk to claim that all Tesla vehicles with Navigate on Autopilot are capable of “full self-driving” is confusing and, some would argue, dangerous.
To poke holes in Musk’s comments, you need look no further than the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) taxonomy for autonomous vehicles, commonly referred to as the SAE levels, which have become the global standard for defining self-driving. Most experts would categorize Navigate on Autopilot as Level 2 autonomy, meaning the vehicle can handle basic tasks, like acceleration, braking, and lane changes, but the human driver needs to maintain full attention of the road and be prepared to take control of the vehicle in a moment’s notice.
.@elonmusk: "We already have full-self driving capability on highways"
Bullshit. Tesla drivers aren't supposed to stop watching the road, the are responsible for OEDR and fallback. This is level 2. And a dangerous lie. pic.twitter.com/4GFkixfDMZ
— 🚗E🚌P🚚D🚲 (@EricPaulDennis) January 30, 2019
Despite Musk’s claims of “full self-driving capabilities” being provably false, it appears that no major government regulators are calling the Tesla CEO on these claims. Many are beginning to wonder just how much power government agencies have over Silicon Valley tech firms who pride themselves on breaking rules and producing products at speed.
Breitbart News will continue to report on developments at Tesla closely.
Update — Changed the article to note the person who shot the video was in fact in the driver’s seat, but kept his hands off of the steering wheel.