When you think of Tesla Motors, there are two features that you think about: the long range by electric vehicle standards, and the autonomous driving features. The California Department of Motor Vehicles is putting an ax to the latter.
California’s DMV is suing Tesla Motors, filing with the Office of Administrative Hearings to say that Tesla is milking its self-driving features beyond its capabilities.
The evidence is clear upon the evidence the California DMV has gathered for the lawsuit. One section they took from Tesla describing its Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features said that the vehicles “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.” On a similar webpage that the California DMV pulled from, Tesla touted, “The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long-distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat.” It does not take a legal expert to understand that Tesla is trying to have its cake and eat it too in this scenario, wanting to boast about its sophisticated technology while attempting to appear blameless should something go wrong.
How Is Trucking Affected?
Semi trucks are significantly heavier than the standard automobiles that Tesla uses for its self-driving technology. If the same accident were to occur with an 80,000 pound big rig, it would cause significantly more damage than a Model S could achieve.
While autonomous trucking has made tremendous strides in the last decade, it still pales in comparison to humans due to a human’s ability to improvise. Lane detection technology, for instance, is hampered by the strength of the paint used to mark where a different lane begins.
Simply put, truckers are put to a higher standard than the typical sedan, so autonomous trucks will be as well. Any amount of time that it takes to get cars fully automated will need about five more years to be added to trucks.
While the idea of self-driving cars is novel, safety must take the utmost priority on the road, and one of the key aspects of this is responsibility. California argues that if Tesla is not going to stand by its product with the weight of liability, it should not use it as a marketing gimmick. Trucking jobs will not be going away any time soon as a few decades of programming have yet to catch up with billions of years of evolution.
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