No matter how much Tesla advertises its Autopilot as something that can fully take over driving duties from its human operator, that’s just not the case in practice. Consumer Reports has proven that it can be easily fooled, and the system cannot really operate reliably and consistently in real-world conditions. Unfortunately, the controversial feature has caused fatal accidents.
In a bid to drive home the point that end users are ultimately responsible for the operation of Autopilot, authorities in California have pressed manslaughter charges against the driver of an autonomously driven Model S back in 2019. The car in question ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. Two people received fatal injuries as a result.
According to this Associated Press report, two federal agencies are currently investigating various cases of Autopilot misuse. Due to the automaker falsely advertising the system as a fully autonomous affair, several of its customers have mistaken it as something that can be left to its own devices. It has also been seen as an excuse by owners to take their eyes off the road and do other tasks (like use their smartphones).