Tesla's Autopilot system, the double-edged sword that it is proving to be is in the news again when a Tesla Model S veered off the road and straight into a guardrail when left to drive on its own.
Fortunately for the driver, it's only a bloodied nose and minor bruises that he has been left with. However, Mark Molthan said he has lost all his confidence on the self-driving feature since the incident happened on a stretch in Highway 175 in Kaufman, Texas that his Model S has negotiated several times before in autopilot mode.
Molthan also own a Model X but he said he won't replace the crashed Model S, Automobile News reported.
Molthan also claimed his Model S kept on accelerating even after the first impact, which suggests a complete failure of the self-driving feature. However, Molthan has admitted he was getting a cloth from the glove box to clean the dashboard when the accident occurred. He was in no position take up control on the car, a key requisite for anyone driving in autopilot mode as mandated by Tesla.
Molthan has stated he won't be suing Tesla for the crash but the law firm that represents his insurance company stated they aren't ruling out legal intervention, Bloomberg reported. Tesla has always maintained its autopilot system should never be seen as an autonomous driving system. Rather it is a driver assist system and that the driver should always be ready to take over control if the situation so warrants.
There has also been the instance of a Tesla Model S that had failed to detect a white truck-trailer against a clear blue sky and had rammed straight into it, which also lead to the first fatality involving the Tesla autopilot system.
Another incident when the Model S had brushed along the sides of a parked car in a highway in Beijing also highlights the relative shortcoming of the Tesla system.
This brings to light the pertinent question as to how much the Tesla autopilot system is to be relied on. Curiously enough, almost all crashes that involved Tesla vehicles had to do with the Models S.
Also, so much for all the negative light that the autopilot system has found itself to be at the centre of, there have also been instances of it proving to be a boon. Case in point, a Tesla Model X that drove its owner to the hospital after driving nearly 20 miles on the highway to reach a hospital. The owner, Joshua Neally, 37 was later diagnosed to have suffered from pulmonary embolism, a condition characterised by obstruction of a blood vessel in his lungs and can be fatal if not treated on time.