Tesla autopilot makes use of 8 surround cameras that provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. It also has 12 ultrasonic sensors.
Does advanced technology, however, truly render people actually driving their cars a thing of the past?
Tesla has been at the forefront of what modern cars can be capable of and is pushing the boundary of what these vehicles could possibly do with the help of technology in the immediate future. But can Tesla cars truly be superhumans? Elon Musk sure thinks so.
Musk, CEO at Tesla, recently made a strong case for technology helping electric vehicles (EVs) from his company become 'superhumans.' The comment was made on Twitter in reply to a message and is being widely seen as yet another backing of autonomous driving - a feature that has come for quite a lot of criticism following accidents in the US. "Humans drive using 2 cameras on a slow gimbal & are often distracted. A Tesla with 8 cameras, radar, sonar & always being alert can definitely be superhuman," Musk wrote on the micro-blogging site.
The two cameras Musk referred to is being regarded as a reference to human eyes. Instead, what the point that the technology entrepreneur is making is that autonomous Tesla cars can ensure safety at all times using its long-list of technological wizardry. Tesla Autopilot helps a car maintain its lane, accelerate and brake on its own with the human driver only required in a role of supervision. It does so by making use of cameras and several sensors which, at least according to Tesla fans, are not prone to any distractions like the human mind is. They often claim that Autopilot makes Tesla cars safer than any human-driven vehicle because it eliminates the risk of distractions.
But does that really make Tesla cars superhuman?
Musk's tweet has once again lit fire to a simmering debate about the feasibility of autonomous driving. US' National Transportation Safety Board had recently blamed the design of the Autopilot system for an accident in Florida. It said that the system allowed the driver to avoid paying attention. Tesla also failed to limit where Autopilot can be used, allowing drivers to activate it in areas it wasn’t designed for, the report said according to Associated Press. (Full report here)
Tesla, however, continues to make a solid case for autonomous driving and brags about how it could be far superior to actual people driving vehicles. On its website, Tesla goes the extra mile to explain what its Autopilot is all about. "Eight surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system," the information put out reads. "A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead."
For all the claims that Tesla and Musk may make for the time being, experts mostly agree that a lot more testing is required in real-world situations before autonomous cars become a reality. Till then, superhuman cars perhaps have a wait at hand.