Following all the recent news about crashes involving Tesla vehicles on Autopilot, music producer and Tesla owner Anton Zaslavski, better known by his stage name Zedd, decided to share a story that he thinks “shows the other side” of Autopilot, Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver assist system.
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On Twitter, Zaslavski told his 8 million followers last night:
“I once fell asleep driving home late at night on the highway (w/ autopilot on) and got woken up by it beeping + turning off music to wake me up. Would have prob been dead without it.”
Tesla’s Autopilot sporadically sends alerts to the driver to keep their hands on the wheel since they need to be attentive and ready to take control at all time.
If a driver doesn’t respond to those alerts for an extended period of time, the Autopilot will start sending louder sound alerts, shut off the music, and even try to safely bring the vehicle to a stop on the side of the road.
After that shut-off process is activated, the driver assist system won’t be available for the remainder of the drive.
Fatigue is one of the most important causes of car accidents. In Quebec, 22.7% of fatal accidents and 20.5% of accidents involving bodily injury are attributable to fatigue.
If you detect signs of fatigue, it is recommended to stop driving regardless of if you have a driver assist system or not.
I am not sure it’s a really good idea to share this kind of story on Twitter without all the details.
While one could argue that Zedd was in less danger as a sleeping driver with Autopilot, he still was in danger and we can’t have people thinking that it is OK to fall asleep at the wheel if you have Autopilot.
In this case, it sounds like Autopilot responded perfectly, but under its current form, the system is far from perfect and as we have seen before, some crashes are inevitable if the driver is not paying attention.
What it always comes back to is that it seems that driving with Autopilot is indeed safer than without Autopilot as long as you are paying attention and not becoming overconfident in the system, which can lead to starting not paying attention.
To be clear, I am not saying that’s necessarily what happened to Zedd here since plenty of people fall asleep at the wheel without Autopilot too nor am I blaming Zedd for sharing his story, but I think that just like the drivers who are quick to blame Autopilot for accidents, those stories should come with some disclaimers.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.