There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Tesla and its Autopilot system as of late. More and more people have been involved in crashes while using Tesla’s active driving aid, as they often think that it’s a genuine autopilot system. A huge part of the reason why so many customers are crashing is because Tesla isn’t great at explaining the fact that it’s Autopilot system’s name is just that — a name. According to the IIHS, the name is very confusing to the average customer and, among all brands with similar systems, Audi’s Traffic Jam Assist seems to have the best name.
To figure out how misleading these names can be, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) conducted a bit of a test by giving 2,000 drivers the names of each brand’s advanced driver aids. The brands’ systems in the test were Tesla’s Autopilot, Audi’s Traffic Jam Assist, BMW’s Driving Assistant Plus and Nissan’s ProPilot Assist. Those drivers were then asked if certain acts would be safe while using each system, solely based on their names.
A whopping 48-percent of drivers felt that it was safe to take their hands off the wheel while using Autopilot, which is a huge number. Admittedly, they are safe to do so… for a short period of time. But it’s not an entirely hands-0ff system, as there are certain circumstances it can’t handle. The same goes for all of the systems. Compared to Audi’s Traffic Jam Assist, where only 21 percent felt it was safe to use it. Even scarier than that, an astonishing 6 percent of drivers surveyed felt it was safe to sleep while using Autopilot.
“Tesla’s user manual says clearly that the Autopilot’s steering function is a ‘hands-on feature,’ but that message clearly hasn’t reached everybody,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “Manufacturers should consider what message the names of their systems send to people.”