Tesla recently attracted some criticisms over its Autopilot system. There are primarily two camps when its comes to approaches to developing self-driving cars. Some companies are gradually releasing more and more advanced autonomous and semi-autonomous features (level 2) leading to a fully autonomous system (level 4), like Tesla’s Autopilot, and others, like Google, are aiming to only release a system once the technology is ready for a fully (level 4) self-driving car.
Among the criticisms, scientist Andrew NG said that it was “irresponsible” for Tesla to ship the Autopilot and BMW’s CEO compared the system to an unreliable app. Now it’s Volvo’s turn to go after Tesla’s Autopilot for similar reasons.
Dr. Peter Mertens, Volvo’s research and development chief, tested the Autopilot and commented on the system in an interview with The Drive:
“Every time I drive (Autopilot), I’m convinced it’s trying to kill me,” he says, dryly.
He is not very trusting of technology for an R&D chief. He followed by saying that Volvo will not be involved in level 2 semi-autonomous system. He added:
“Anyone who says ‘we have systems that are better than human drivers’ is lying to you,” Mertens says. “Anyone who moves too early is risking the entire autonomous industry. We’re the safety brand, and we’re taking things slowly. Until the systems are better than a good human driver, Volvo won’t go there.”
They already went there:
By saying that “anyone who says ‘we have systems that are better than human drivers’ is lying to you”, Mertens is basically calling Tesla and Elon Musk liars since Tesla’s CEO claims that the automaker’s semi-autonomous driving system lowers the probability of an accident by 50% when the system is activated. Here are his exact words:
“The probability of having an accident is 50% lower if you have Autopilot on. Even with our first version. So we can see basically what’s the average number of kilometers to an accident – accident defined by airbag deployment. Even with this early version, it’s almost twice as good as a person.”
Volvo wants to do a little better than twice as good and announced plans to have no serious injury or death in a new Volvo by 2020. The company sees autonomous driving as a vital part of the plan. The Swedish automaker said that it will soon deploy up to 100 self-driving cars on China’s public roads for a pilot project, but there’s no word on when they plan to bring their own self-driving technology to market.
Featured Image: A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images