Autopilot is the
latest catchphrase in the world of ultra-luxury automobiles, and with more
manufacturers making the high-tech feature available on current models, it’s
crucial that consumers understand how to use autopilot safely to avoid danger
to themselves and other motorists. The future of automotive transportation may
indeed see us fully relying on automobiles to do the driving without human
input, but we’re not there yet.
Using autopilot still
requires an alert and focused human driver. In fact, the system’s safety record
is only marginally better than that of conventional cars. Check out the video
below for an in-depth look at how autopilot is really just an updated version
of cruise control.
work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Always Be Alert
when autopilot is engaged, you should keep two hands on the wheel and
be on the lookout for potential obstacles in the road. Hitting the brakes at
any time will switch your car back into manual driving mode. Scenarios, when
this might be necessary, include drivers cutting you off, construction
zones or unexpected road debris. Similarly, when traveling in the right most
lane, autopilot may track road markings that lead you off the highway, even if
that wasn’t your intention. As a rule, it’s generally a good idea to
refrain from using autopilot on undivided highways where the lack of road
markings can fetter the system’s logic.
A good example is the
infamous Tesla crash in which a driver with autopilot engaged failed
to notice a semi-truck merging into his lane. The system scanners missed the
truck because its reflective siding blinded them, resulting in a fatal
accident. Paying attention while behind the wheel can prevent more incidents
Bad Weather Is a Challenge
Many of these scenarios
involve inclement weather, which can interfere with autopilot sensors that scan
the road. If the roads are wet, you’ll need to be alert in case glare from
water on the road causes lane-tracking sensors to miss information. During in
dense fog or heavy snow, autopilot remains functional, but in may not be able
to accurately follow road markings. If this is the case, the system will
alert you and attempt to track the vehicle in front of you, but if that car
changes lanes into open space, autopilot will copy this move even if another
vehicle is in your blind spot because it thinks that’s the way the road is
turning. To prevent an accident, pay extra attention while using
autopilot in bad weather, or disengage autopilot until the weather
Responsible Driving Means Watching the Road
Just as when you’re driving
manually, pedestrians jumping out into the road can catch autopilot by
surprise. Should a person or an animal make its way onto the road unexpectedly,
you’ll need to take action to ensure you avoid an accident. Trusting autopilot
in this situation is not a good idea.
In the future, we can look
forward to autopilot systems getting better than they are today. It wasn’t so
long ago that Mercedes was testing its laser-guided lane-following system in
the fog, only to have the test car completely rear end the dummy lead car.
Since then, the company has improved the feature, and it passed the test.
Should you avoid purchasing
a car with an autopilot or auto-assist function altogether? No. However, it’s
likely the longer you wait, the better a system you’ll receive. Such is the way
things go with new technologies, and the future of network-aware cars means
that soon, vehicles in lanes next to one another might even be able to
communicate their next move to ensure the safety of passengers.
At the time of writing, the
system has been shown to reduce the chance of a minor accident by 61 percent
compared to a human driver, and reduce the about of major accidents by 36
percent. It’s possible that things will get safer in the future when all cars
track the road using an autopilot-style system. However, for the time being,
it’s important to be alert behind the wheel, even with autopilot engaged.
This article is taken from https://blog.cjponyparts.com/stay-alert-autopilot-glorified-cruise-control-motion-graphic/
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