Tesla has been making big strides in the "SmartCar" industry. One area in particular they've been working on rigorously is the autopilot feature. The autopilot feature allows for the driver to hand the driving entirely over to the car. Although other companies are also working towards perfecting this feature, Tesla has made the most progress thus far.
The autopilot feature all starts with the sensors on the car. There are twelve ultrasonic sensors placed all about the car's body that can detect an object from sixteen feet away. These sensors not only detect objects, but can also sense the velocity of the object. The author of the Gizmag blog actually took a Tesla out to test the autopilot feature for himself. As one might imagine, he said it was a bit unnerving when the car literally took over. He says that Tesla tries to make it a less stressful experience by putting a screen on the dashboard showing what the car is detecting. It will show how far the car is in front of you as well as how close things are around the car by color coding the objects around the car. Knowing what the car is actually sensing makes the experience much less unnerving. Although the feature seems pretty advanced and polished, Tesla still warns the user to remain attentive in case of any technical failures requiring the driver to take back over. For example, a sensor could somehow be compromised, compromising the autopilot feature as a whole. In this event, the driver has to be prepared to operate the vehicle again. Ultimately, this article shows the technical specifications of the autopilot feature, but also shows that it is not yet perfected. Based on the specs and the author's firsthand experience, I think it has a lot of promise, but I would still feel uneasy using it because it is such a new concept with various potential problems as listed above.
There are a few areas that I do not think the article addressed. Firstly, it never shows how the autopilot feature functions outside of ideal weather conditions. It does not address how it functions in heavy rain or snow. This is something that I believe would be important to readers because it only addresses ideal conditions. I would want to know if the system would be safe to use in inclement weather. Another thing the article does not address is parking. The autopilot system is actually able to search for a parking spot and perfectly park itself according to the Tesla webpage. Finally, the article did not address the constant software updates Tesla makes towards its autopilot system. Each time they make an advancement in the technology, the software automatically updates in the car, also according to the Tesla webpage. As a user, it is good to know that Tesla is constantly making improvements to better the system. Although the autopilot system is very advanced, Tesla admits they still have much to work on.