The Tesla Autopilot Autonomous Driving system is unsafe, says a Volvo engineer, as it expects drivers to take over without warning.
Tesla’s Autopilot system is a clever piece of technology that delivers semi-autonomous driving ability to let drivers give over control of their car on motorways, and is perhaps the most sophisticated autonomous driving technology in any production car.
In an interview with The Verge, Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo, said the system isn’t that impressive:
“It gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is. [Tesla’s Autopilot] is more of an unsupervised wannabe.”
Basically, Victor is saying that Tesla is trying to create a semi-autonomous vehicle that appears to be autonomous – because its system requires the person behind the wheel to stay alert at all times, making it dangerous in case of emergencies when the driver is occupied with everything but actual driving.
To be fair, although some experts consider Tesla’s tech as Level 3 autonomous – meaning the driver can fully cede control of all safety-critical functions in certain conditions, the American car manufacturer classified the Autopilot as Level 2 autonomous and in beta phase – which means at least two controls can be automated in unison; and that’s it.
But you know who will launch a Level 4, fully-autonomous car next year? Volvo, according to Trent Victor:
“In our concept, if you don’t take over, if you have fallen asleep or are watching a film, then we will take responsibility still. We won’t just turn [autonomous mode] off. We take responsibility and we’ll be stopping the vehicle if you don’t take over.”