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Tesla Motors Autopilot Feature Previews Driverless Future

By Victor Thomson , May 02, 2016 05:15 AM EDT
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Tesla Motors' Autopilot data previews suggest that the company's first step toward self-driving is already significantly reducing accidents on the highway. In these circumstances, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is confident in a path toward the future of autonomous driving. 

Electric-car maker Tesla is focusing just as heavily on driverless cars as it is on fully electric cars. This is also illustrated by the aggressive rollout of its Autopilot. The system includes both automatic lane changes and automatic steering, according to The Motley Fool.

Tesla is placed far ahead of its competition in automatic driving with these two features combined. But in order to move closer to fully driverless technology, the company will need to prove with data that the new technology is improving its safety.

Tesla is already gathering some impressive data on the safety of its Autopilot system. According to a new comment via InsideEVs from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Autopilot really makes a difference.

The 7.1 software update allows for Tesla to begin making a compelling case that its driverless-like features are superior to human drivers. And it seems now that the company has reached that point when it is able to make those arguments about Autopilot's enhanced safety.

While discussing driverless technology with Norway Minister of Transport and communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Musk declared that Tesla's Autopilot is significantly reducing accidents. According to the data accumulated so far, with Autopilot on the probability of having an accident is 50 percent lower.

Positive customer feedback about Autopilot and safety data like this made Musk to predict during the Norway interview that people will learn "surprisingly quickly" to trust driverless technology. Tesla autonomous cars with a next-generation suite of Autopilot hardware will be tested across the country in a little as two years, according to Musk.

However, not everyone is as optimistic about Tesla's autonomous driving technology as the company's CEO. According to ZDNet, one Volvo engineer believes that the Autopilot automatic driving technology is not worth the hype and it is no more than a "wannabe."

Senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo Trent Victor dismissed Tesla's technology in a recent interview with The Verge.  According to him, the hype around the system is not necessarily deserved, since the technology is not being truly self-driving.

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