DALLAS, Texas. Tesla’s autopilot and its factories have both come under scrutiny by the New York Times. Tesla claims that its autopilot is safe enough to allow its vehicles to be operated without a human driver. Despite this claim, the cars must still have a human operator behind the wheel. Critics of assistive technology claim that this technology might create complacent drivers who may not always focus on the road. To make matters worse, a driver was killed in California when a Tesla crashed into a highway divider while the autopilot function was being used. In another Times report, Tesla factories have faced increased scrutiny after several workplace accidents.
Tesla positions itself as the car of the future. Its cars are all electric and they include more advanced self-driving features. Yet, critics have expressed concerns about the car’s safety. The autopilot features are so advanced that many drivers will leave the driving to the car. It’s when the car makes an error or when an unpredictable situation arises that problems can occur.
In some of Tesla’s newest models, the cars can even change lanes autonomously, automatically checking the car’s blind spot. Here’s yet another dangerous maneuver for city driving that can become safer thanks to autopilot, but this feature can also create complacent drivers. Who would be to blame in an accident involving autopilot in a lane-change crash? Would Tesla be at fault for a defective product, or would the driver be at fault for not checking the lane?
Based on reports, it appears that the car performs the lane change maneuver as soon as the driver puts on the turn signal, creating a situation where the driver may put on the signal, and then look, but find that the car has already automatically moved into another lane. However, if the driver puts on the turn signal before looking, the car could potentially perform a maneuver that the driver may not have chosen to perform under normal manual driving conditions. In fact, according to the New York Times, one Tesla made a motion to change lanes as soon as the test driver put on his turn signal, but the autopilot didn’t see a car moving at high speeds in the other lane. The driver had to intervene. This is a problem that has been noted by more than one driver. The fact that autopilot takes over means that drivers may need to change their driving behavior and check the lane before putting on their turn signal. Or, they may be forced to correct their Tesla to prevent an accident.
Reports also indicate that Tesla’s autopilot can become “confused” when lanes aren’t clearly marked, or where lanes split for exits.
At the end of the day, Tesla doesn’t claim that its cars are fully autonomous. The technology is designed to be a collaborative process between the computer and the driver. Drivers are required to keep their hands on the wheel. Given the fact that new technology is hitting the road, we are likely to see more accidents where the fault between driver and computer may be ambiguous. As it stands, drivers remain ultimately responsible behind the wheel. The Law Offices of Robert Gregg are personal injury lawyers in Dallas, Texas who are closely watching these developments. If you’ve been injured in a crash due to the actions of another person or party, reach out to us at http://www.gregginjury.com/ today.
Law Offices of Robert Gregg
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