Pioneering CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, is committed to the development of self-driving cars
In 2012, there were 33,561 deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, announced in 2015 that Tesla cars would handle 90 percent of driving within five years. This plan included all Tesla vehicles being equipped with an autopilot system. Musk compared Tesla's autopilot to the autopilot in airplanes, where people still manually control the vehicle in risky situations.
Tesla vehicles will use optical equipment and motion detection algorithms to warn drivers about dangerous situations. Every Tesla car will be equipped with an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). The device can recognize cars, motorcycles, and trucks, whether it is day or night. Tesla's ADAS will not eliminate the need for human drivers but it may make driving safer. The autopilot feature will be able to take over during highway driving, but ADAS will request the driver resume control when approaching an exit ramp.
These were the plans that Musk laid out for Tesla in 2015, and as of late 2015 all Tesla cars included an autopilot feature. Tesla uses moments in which humans need to take over the autopilot to create “teachable moments” and improve the program. Owners have commented on the system’s ability to self-improve and are generally impressed with the feature. All data that the cars learn from drivers is compiled into Tesla’s “fleet learning network,” so that all cars have access to the improvement.
Model S Tesla cars produced in 2015 come with traffic aware cruise control and a 360 degree closeness warning for those vehicles that were built with the new hardware. The closeness warning notifies the driver when the car comes too close to an object. The cruise control feature allows the driver to set a max speed and a distance tolerance and the car will slow/speed itself while remaining aware of other traffic in the vicinity. The feature is not able to detect traffic signals, so it is only effective at lights or stop signs if there is a car stopping in front of you. These features function well in good weather and in light rain, but become less accurate in heavy rain or snow.