Autopilot Drives Owner to Hospital
Over the weekend, a Model X owner used Tesla Autopilot to drive himself to the hospital. According to KY3 Missouri News Station, Joshua Neally was driving home from work when he began experiencing severe chest pains. Fearing that an ambulance would take too long, he engaged Autopilot and set directions for a nearby hospital. Neally credits Autopilot with saving his life. As it turned out, he had a nearly fatal pulmonary embolism.
Autopilot Creates Controversy Again
A lot of controversy has been caused by Neally’s admission. Some are crediting Autopilot with saving a life. Others feel that this in no way counters the life that was taken last May, when a tractor trailer crossed a divided highway, killing a man who had Autopilot engaged. Some also assert that Autopilot was misused. They feel that this story only adds support to the belief that Autopilot is a danger at the hands of consumers, who choose to use it despite clear warnings from Tesla to stay alert.
Tesla maintains that the first fatality with Autopilot engaged occurred at 135,000 miles, well over the national average. Consumer reports however, has called upon Tesla to disengage Autopilot. Their request is primarily due to confusion among Tesla owners as to when Autopilot is engaged and under what circumstances it disengages.
The Future Of Autopilot Remains Uncertain
Undoubtedly, Autopilot shows great potential. Could Tesla solve these controversies with a few small tweaks? Maybe a simple name change would make an impact? Rather than being called Autopilot and operating consciously, maybe a more subconscious system named something like “Accident Prevention System (APS)” would help consumers put it in perspective. Whatever the case, we hope that Tesla figures it out soon. The technology is brilliantly forward thinking and it would be a shame for legislation to require censuring due to concern over errors.