Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes there is “way too much hype” surrounding Tesla’s ability to deliver mass-produced self-driving electric vehicles.
Tesla’s self-driving capabilities are overblown and lead people to put too much trust in the car’s “autopilot” feature, Wozniak told reporters earlier this month. Many people inside Silicon Valley believe Wozniak was the brains behind Steve Jobs’ Apple computer.
“Tesla has in people’s mind that they have cars that will just drive themselves totally, and it is so far from the truth, so they have deceived us,” he said. Other analysts and academics have made similar complaints about Tesla’s auto feature.
“The expectation of Tesla is that the driver is alert and vigilant, ready to take over at a moment’s notice,” Ryan Eustice, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan, told reporters earlier this year. Drivers become bored and place too much trust in auto-driving features, he added.
Bryant Walker Smith, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, who devoted his career to studying semi-autonomous technology like Tesla uses, echoed Eustice’s sentiments, telling reporters in June that Tesla owners will likely have to decide between safety and convenience.
The self-driving vehicles can be hazardous, Wozniak noted.
“Sometimes Teslas are dangerous because of what they call ‘autopilot … You get thinking, ‘Oh, it is easy, I can reach over and not look for a few seconds,’ and that is the second your car drifts over the line,” said Wozniak, who owns a Tesla and says he downloads the latest available Tesla software updates.
“Driving my Tesla, over and over and over there are unusual situations on any road anywhere and every single human being alive — dumb or smart — would be able to get through it and the Tesla can’t,” he added.
Musk, argues that 600,000 people die a year from vehicle wrecks because of human error. The death toll could be mitigated if Tesla’s autonomous driving application were made widely available, Musk claims.
But the new technology can’t catch on if the media is constantly haranguing Tesla for each wreck or death related to the Model S self-driving feature, he added. A Tesla owner died earlier this year after his Model S hit a tractor trailer.
Tesla’s self-driving technology is safer than human-operated vehicles, Musk claimed during the phone conference announcing the move to affix the electric automaker’s vehicles with the autonomous driving feature.
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