Tesla‘s self driving vehicle technology has been quite an impressive new technology. Back in the 1990’s, technology like self-driving/autopilot vehicles seemed downright futuristic. But autonomous car technology is steadily becoming more mainstream.
Tesla first made headlines for releasing their Tesla Roadster in 2008, which was the first production model electric sports car designed for use by mainstream consumers. Initially, roads that didn’t have a center divider were speed-limited by Teslas software. Meaning, the software was specifically programmed to deny speed increases that knowingly broke the speed limit.
But with the new software update, Tesla’s self driving cars are authorized to reach speeds of up to 90 MPH on the highway. The software update is creating a controversial stir with Tesla car owners. Obviously, operating a Tesla Autopilot car at speeds above 90 MPH is unlawful, but dangerous situations can arise on the roadway that would require high speed driving to avoid a crash.
The Tesla Autopilot system is classified as a Level 2 automated system. There’s a total of 6 progressive levels of Autopilot intensity within the SAE Automated Vehicle Classification. This is directly in the middle class of Autopilot intensity, whereas the vehicle operates on it’s own, but also allows for easy driver intervention when necessary.
Considering there was a fairly recent fatal crash between a Tesla vehicle equipped with their autopilot system and a semi truck making a left turn, this only adds fuel to the public outcry. The Tesla system malfunctioned because the bright white paint of the semi trailer was set against a brightly lit sky of roughly the same color. There’s no doubt that Tesla is hard at work to correct their software errors so accidents like this don’t happen in the future.