Tesla Model S AutopilotEnlarge Photo
Tesla has been teasing its customers with the upcoming Autopilot autonomous driving system for quite some time now. The tech has been hanging in front of their faces for almost a year, but it's finally inching closer to becoming an available reality. According to the UK Business Insider, Tesla is ready to begin testing the system on public roads with select owners.
The California-based automaker says it will be working with a group of Model S owners in an effort to test the autonomous system known as Autopilot. It's clear that the goal of this project is to see how the system responds in the real-world daily driving grind. Assuming the majority of the testing will be conducted with locally sourced owners, Tesla will get plenty of feedback with regard to how the system handles constant traffic, poorly maintained highways, and an extreme disregard for any and all other motorists and their vehicles. Essentially, the real world is the perfect place to test such a system.
Tesla has stated that Autopilot should be treated in the same manner that an actual autopilot system on a jumbo jet would be regarded. A driver can't simply kick back and take a nap. The system will control the action in a safe manner, but human eyes should be monitoring the car and the road ahead. Autopilot will best be used out on the highway where the car will maintain its lane, a proper speed, and a safe following distance from other vehicles in front of it.
We have to assume that the first reports of accidents involving an Autopilot-equipped Model S will be the result of someone else texting their BFF. "OMG A TESLA MODEL S I SHOULD TAKE A PICTURE..."