Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Can’t Keep Hands on the Wheel

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Autopilot

Tesla Motors Inc added another feather to its cap earlier this week when the Model S set a new record for driving across the U.S. in record time for EVs. Three drivers did a coast-to-coast trip in a Tesla’s Model S all in the space of 57 hours and 48 minutes – the cool part of the story is that the car drove itself nearly all the way. Tesla’s autopilot is setting the pace, but questions surface when you put robots behind a wheel.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model X SUV with Autopilot

Self-driving cars are here to stay as auto and tech firms are pouring billions of dollars into creating them. Tesla’s current autopilot is part of the version 7.0 software update – showing how far self-driving tech as grown within a short period. Alphabet Inc is testing its self-driving cars, and has already logged millions of miles. Apple is said to be building a car with its “Project Titan” and almost all other carmakers have a sort of driver-assist system in their cars.

Will Tesla’s autopilot kill jobs or people?

Every piece of growth in tech has its own trade off and this holds true as self-driving cars start to take over the roads. As self-driving cars become the norm, humans who make a living from driving might need to look for jobs elsewhere. The list included chauffeurs, taxi drivers, gas station staff, parking lot guys, and even truck drivers.

An event that might delay the advent of self-driving cars is the public outcry and backlash that would arise when a Tesla Motors driver rams an innocent while in Autopilot mode. Tesla has said that “today’s Autopilot features are designed to provide a hands-on experience to give drivers more confidence behind the wheel… Drivers can’t abdicate responsibility, we expect the driver to be present and prepared to take over at any time.”

However, Tesla Motors markets the driver-assist features as Autopilot and it is only a matter of time before drivers begin taking their eyes off the road. YouTube has tons of video of people throwing caution to the wind once the mode is engaged.

Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant professor at the University Of South Carolina School Of Law says, “Companies can get away with a lot that’s in a legal gray area, as long as bad things don’t happen.”

Autopilot is here to stay

Self-driving cars make it easier for humans to do other tasks while bots take them from point A to point B. Computers tend to do a better job at driving – the fact that Google’s self-driving cars record 11 minor accidents in six years of testing attests to this. More so, having computers take up driving might result in reemployment.

Yet, Tesla might want to add measures that ensure that humans keep their eyes on the road, in order to make sure it doesn’t face the huge backlash that could come as a result of a single driver being careless about their driving.

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.


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