Useful Reminder: Roundabouts Are Tesla's Autopilot Mortal Enemy

Tesla Autopilot and roundabouts 1 photo
Photo: Collage
Tesla's Autopilot feature is under a lot of attention lately, but if it's anything like the man running the company, then it is thoroughly enjoying this time in the spotlight.
Tesla owners understandably welcomed their cars turning semi-autonomous overnight, considering how with other vehicles they would have had to spec these options when ordering the car (for a hefty cost) or use it for the rest of its life wondering what it would have been like.

So, after receiving such a nice present, everybody started unwrapping. Some were more curious than others, so they went to great lengths to test the feature, while others were OK simply to cruise down the highway with not a single worry on their mind.

Tesla, however, warned them of the system's limitations, but it was probably one of those messages nobody bothers to read, just like the End User License Agreements: "Blah, blah, blah... how do I click 'next?' If I wanted to read, I would have bought a book, Tesla, so stop wasting my time with this useless crap that could potentially save my life and let me drive. Or, you know, let me watch you drive on your own."

Among those restrictions, there was a very important one that this man clearly didn't read. He appears to be testing the Autopilot together with a female, when they approach a roundabout. "What's it gonna do on a circle?" she asks, and since nobody answers, she tries to build up the suspense: "This is going to be interesting."

It's hard to tell whether the driver knew and just played along, or he was just as surprised as her. He had his hands off the wheel, and even though he didn't hover just above it, ready to intervene (as I would have done if I suspected something), he did react quickly after the car told him to take over. Not that the female was doing anything else: "Aaarrggh, it doesn't know circles yet."

My problem with all this is that the Autopilot should have seen there was a circle coming (I'm just gonna call them that from now on) and tell the drive to take over earlier. Instead, it waited until the car was inside the roundabout (I can't go with "circle," it's just stupid) to issue the alert, as if hoping the road would miraculously straighten out at the last minute. Tesla might want to address that.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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