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Tesla Autopilot gets its first speed warning from police

When Elon Musk said that the Autopilot feature that was rolled out to all Model S and Model X owners was probably safe for people, he was mainly thinking about pedestrians that may make the inadvisable move to step out in front of them. He didn't mention anything about the Autopilot leading to a speeding ticket for the person sat behind the wheel, as that's just what's happened to one Model S owner when he was caught speeding down a Florida highway with his hands no where near the wheel.

Tesla's new Autopilot feature improved the automated functions of the Model S and X, making it so that the car can automatically adjust its speed, make minor adjustments to keep the car in-lane,  and even change lane if it needs to. This, theoretically should make it so that the cars can operate in motorway conditions without much input from the driver.

Having the car handle traffic jams seems like the biggest blessing

Of course because of the state of roadway legislation, there is no provision for people to remove their hands from the wheel on public roads, so any problems caused by the vehicle is the responsibility of the driver. As the guy behind the video below discovered, when he was pulled over for doing 75 miles per hour in a 60 zone. [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CZe5DXeYzw'] Although there is no video of the interaction with police, skip to 12:45 to see the driver discuss it

Despite this hiccup for the driver and the Autopilot feature, data is constantly being sent to Tesla when it's engaged, so the electronic car maker may take information from this incident to better improve its automated features. It may well be that it corrects the speed limit in the particular area that this driver was busted, though having it read signs and do more automated speed-limit checking might be more efficient.

As it stands, the Autopilot feature is restricted to the United Sates. Tesla has said that the automation will reach other Tesla owners overseas this week.

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KitGuru Says: There are going to be problems with this sort of technology. There will likely also be a few deaths when some automated tech hits a person and we're going to have to figure out how to deal with that in the march to an automated future. It's going to be weird and will require some head-scratching but as more of our society relies on robotics and AI for certain functions, there will be some hiccups.

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  1. Well there you have it – car did not exceed any limits, those it knew about that is. It is not like it deliberately went over the limit.
    And killing someone – dont even start there, check accident reports, people kill themselves and others behind the wheel in thousands, if all that disappears and there are just few accidents per year with automated cars, it will be improvement.

  2. Saw a vid yesterday of one owners car swerving towards an oncoming car, I think you’d have to be crazy to trust a computer driving at 75mph with no hands, especially one in early stages/beta.

  3. The thing is the user has to assign the speed of the road from what I have seen, so the driver is still at fault. Tesla I’m sure will add a feature that knows of the road speed limit and add that in, but the feature is the first itteration of the software.

  4. feel strage and wrong? yes
    But not in the least bit crazy. Afterall computers and machinery are our superiors in nearly every way. In fact a person looking from the facts about a decently designed “collision avoidence” system would find its much more likely to avoid an accident than a human in the same position.

  5. Thousands of cars catch fire and explode every year (who knew petrol would do that!) but when two Tesla cars catch fire (of which neither incident had any injuries) the media went crazy… basically people are stupid.

    The first death by auto cars will cause “outrage against dangerous technology”, meanwhile 40 000 people die from human error in cars every year in the US.

  6. I think this proves that the posted limits and the actual speed we drive are too out of step. The car was being safe and following the flow of traffic, it was not speeding in any except the arbitrary legal definition. We need to change that definition, not the car.