This is not how you are supposed to use Tesla Autopilot, and misusing this feature is how Tesla gets a bad rep when it comes to Autopilot and Full Self Driving:
🤦🏻♂️ non-owner fail.
— 🐶Earl of Frunkpuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) January 14, 2020
First, let’s define what Autopilot really is. It is an advanced driver-assistance system that is deployed on the way to fully-self driving. Until that ultimate goal, though, the driver needs to pay attention to their surroundings and be able to take over in an instant. As we can see in this video, Carolyn isn’t even looking at the road.
She doesn’t own the Tesla Model S she is driving and says that she wants to highlight businesses that promote sustainability and that are making the world a better place. The idea of highlighting businesses that promote sustainability is a lovely idea, but if you are going to promote or highlight a company, make sure to use its products the right way and to actually know your products.
In the video, she calls Autopilot “self-driving mode,” which implies that Autopilot is fully self driving. All new Teslas have the hardware for FSD, but until they have been updated with the full FSD features, they’re not yet ready. If she would have done her research, she would have come across this bit of text from Tesla’s website:
When she “moved it into manual,” meaning she disabled Autopilot, Carolyn then took her hands off the steering wheel and looked away from the road. This is very dangerous. I believe that she was so excited to be in a Tesla and driving it that she was distracted. Distracted while driving in a regular gasoline car is dangerous and has led to many accidents. Distracted driving claimed 2,166 lives in 2017. We should strive to be focused on the task when driving.
I want to believe the intention was pure — Carolyn seemed really happy and excited — but she didn’t do her research or fully understand the fact that it is Autopilot and not yet FSD — and this is where a lot of public confusion comes in. This confusion leads to negative media headlines and politicians bashing an American company for allowing its customers to abuse its products (yet they look the other way when people drink and drive — I don’t see Budweiser being held accountable for people drinking and driving.)
This type of highlight is not something Tesla needs. If you want to promote Tesla, research it. Don’t just hop in, press a few buttons, and turn on the camera.