Are autopilot cars like the Tesla Model S safe?

Technology is growing a constantly rapid pace, whether we like it or not. There have been many great advances in medicine, science and technology over the past decades. More recently, we have seen technology that now parallel parks cars for themselves such as most newer Fords. Now they are creating technology so that cars can now drive themselves, well within reason. The question that I plan to address in this blog is, are auto piloted cars really that safe? Tesla was able to introduce this new technology back in October, and it still has a long way to go.


Tesla really has come along way with the creation of these cars, many of companies are in the process of creating a self driving car but nobody else to my knowledge has a car out currently. In this section I want to lay out some of the technology that goes into making a car like this. The Tesla has multiple sensors that are placed strategically around the vehicle so that it can constantly have a feel for what is going on. These sensors have a capability of sensing movement and other obstacles that are within sixteen feet of the car. In addition to these sensors, the Tesla has a radar system that comes installed that helps the car detect other cars that may be in front or on the sides. These 2 pieces alone allow the car to maintain its speed, change lanes, and adapt to other traffic conditions.The final piece of major technology that goes into Tesla’s autopilot system is that there is a camera that is mounted on the back of the rear view mirror (so that it is facing traffic in the front of the car). This camera also helps the Tesla adapt to changing conditions on the road.



So the question remains, are these auto piloted vehicles safe? Would you trust one of these vehicles? There is a lot that is currently being discussed about the safety of them. There is a reported incident in China where an auto piloted Tesla had crashed into a slow moving street sweeping vehicle that resulted in the death of one man. The system that performs the auto pilot function is undergoing frequent updates because there is still a chance of error that can result in accidents, and sometimes these accidents are even fatal. Tesla tells the drivers that they should still be paying attention to the road with their hands on the wheel, even if the car is in auto pilot mode. One should be informed that even though these systems have come a long way, there is always still room for an error. The question that I pose is this, would you put your lives in the hand of a car that could drive itself? Or would you rather do the driving yourself? There can be a strong argument for both sides. However, I personally would not trust one of the auto pilot cars just yet.


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9 thoughts on “Are autopilot cars like the Tesla Model S safe?

  1. Derrek Koblinsky Post author

    One more thing for everyone that is interested in this blog. Upon doing even more research I was able to find the a video from the camera that was mounted on the back of the rear view mirror. If something like this interests you please give it a watch. Viewer discretion is advised due to the fact that this is the raw footage of the car crashing into a slow moving street sweeping vehicle.

  2. dff5115

    I personally would trust a self driving car. I am a believer that in our life time all cars will be able to drive themselves. I think this would only benefit society because then people would be able to get more stuff done in the car like work, or just relax. I think that if all cars were able to drive themselves the roads would be better because it would take out the human error in driving. Often when a car crash occurs its one persons fault. If all cars were able to drive themselves and communicate with the other cars it would make everything safer and there would actually be less car crashes. With less crashes i think the government would notice and then raise the speed limits of highways because the cars aren’t going to go over the speed limit. Self-driving cars would change a lot more than people think. With all cars being able to drive themselves there would be no more need for traffic police. Also companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini would have to re brand themselves not as sports cars but as more of luxury vehicles.

  3. Jordan Smith

    In one of my classes, we had a guest speaker about self-driving cars. He talked about how the technology is already there for cars to drive themselves. They’re just waiting for legislation to catch up. With the sensors the cars have, and once they are so ubiquitous on the road to communicate with all other cars, I’d have no problem letting the car drive me places. Especially trying to merge onto a busy highway…screw that.

    1. Derrek Koblinsky Post author

      Jordan, the legislation aspect may be something else to look into when it comes to this specific topic. Legislators will have a major argument to who would be responsible for the accident if one were to occur. Would the driver still be responsible since he is behind the wheel? Or would the car manufacture be responsible since the driver is putting the control in the hands of the car. The argument could go either way in the minds of many different Senators and Congressman. This is something that should definitely be followed in the next couple weeks and months. I believe that the driver would be responsible since he/she would be the one who is using the cruise control setting to give the power to the automobile.

  4. Ashton Blair Pinter

    Reading your article and from personal experience I would not trust the autopilot car just yet. My neighbors have a Tesla and always rave about how great of a car it is and not to mention how sleek of a design the car has. My car has a backup camera on it, even with it I still managed to hit my Dad’s car. The problem I found with my backup camera is that it does not accurately show the distance from my car to other cars or objects behind you. The reason i would not trust an auto pilot car is because even while I am manually driving my car and using my backup camera I still manage to hit things. I can only imagine what would happen if you were backing up on auto pilot and suddenly something moved, would the Tesla react fast enough and break, or would it hit the object? I think Tesla has their minds in the right direction but still need to make colossal design improvements before I would ever use the technology.

    1. Derrek Koblinsky Post author

      Ashton I appreciate your enthusiasm into my topic first and foremost. My concern is while they are making great strides they have not been able to perfect the technology behind it. With something that has the possibility of being so dangerous like an automobile, I will stick to driving myself. Once they can perfect the technology I will still be apprehensive to let the car do the driving for me.

    2. Brendan Mironov

      Like Jordan, I also had a surprise guest speaker come in and talk about autonomous vehicles in my management 426 class. Funny enough, he actually works for the IT department at Ford and has been working there for 28 years. He shared with the class that the technology for autonomous vehicles is in place today and there are actually autonomous vehicles in the streets of very rural places even though they are not yet available for commercial use. He mentioned that there was actually an accident in florida involving a tesla that crashed and killed a person in auto-pilot mode. With that said, he believes the technology is 100% safe and that airports are actually considering implementing driver-less shuttles that take you to and from the terminals. What kind of evidence would you need to see to trust this technology?

      1. Derrek Koblinsky Post author

        Brendan, for me to feel safe and comfortable in a self driving car like the Tesla Model S I would need some long tested evidence to prove that computer or system error is very rare. I think over time these systems will become safer. However, since they are such a new technology I am more than willing to wait so that the technology is iron clad. Besides all of that I am going to need a lot of money to be able to purchase one of the new Tesla automobiles.

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