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November 5, 2015

Tesla Scaling Back on Autopilot Features

Safety Concerns Raised After Videos Posted by Drivers

Tesla motors is putting some of its autopilot features in neutral.

Elon Musk, Tesla Factory, Fremont (CA, USA) in 2011. Photo by Maurizio Pesce.

Elon Musk, Tesla Factory, Fremont (CA, USA) in 2011. Photo by Maurizio Pesce.

The car company is scaling back on some of its offered autopilot features, and when they can be activated, for safety reasons. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, told media during a question and answer session the company is looking at safety after some concerns have been raised.

Musk said there’s been “some fairly crazy videos on YouTube” — and that’s not good.

“And we will be putting some additional constraints on when Autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it,” he stated.

The news of the scaled back feature comes as Musk also reported nearly one million drivers have installed the feature, Computer World reported. The software upgrade allows drivers of the Model S to install features such as Autosteer and Auto Lane Change.

However, videos of drivers taking their hands off the steering wheel have raised concerns for both the company and regulators.

An associate professor of engineering practice told The Verge such software prompts a number of questions for regulators.

“Beta software typically means that a company is not fully releasing this to the public,” Jeffrey Miller of the University of Southern California said. “They are releasing it to people who are willing to test it with the understanding there will be bugs in it.”

Yet, Musk said in Wednesday’s conference call he has not heard of any accidents caused by the features and noted there have been reports the features have, rather, prevented some collisions.


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.