Re: I Can't Stop Myself
"a) Keep the car in lane without veering out of lane"
Don't need full-blown "autopilot" to achieve this...
"b) Keep a suitable safe distance from the car in front and any cars that may enter the lan"
"c) Notice and react to sudden slowing events even not in visible sight of the car"
How will it know the events are occurring if they're out of sight? The various sensors used by "autopilot" are all still reliant on having line of sight to whatever it is they're being tasked to detect.
"d) Reduce driver fatigue in poorer driving conditions"
"e) Allow the driver to be more alert to their surroundings with less mental agility required for driving"
...whenever I dabble with using cruise control on my cars, I very quickly remember why it is I detest using it - the feeling of disconnection between what I'm doing and what the car is doing makes me feel like I'm always ever so slightly behind the car, so if something occurs up ahead that requires my attention I find myself reacting a little slower than I'd like to. In contrast, when I switch cruise off and let my right foot take care of speed and distance control, everything falls more comfortably into place and I then feel more able to respond to events around me.
IMO, if you take *too* much stimulation and mental effort out of the act of driving, the driver then ends up in a reduced and somewhat soporific state of attention, which is the polar opposite of where you need them to be, or where you're expecting them to be having just given them all that free time to spend on watching out for stuff happening now they're not having to work on the basics like maintaining speed, lane position etc.
"f) Have full visibility for blindspots and the situation around the car within it's own capabilities but working at a sustained and constant level at all times"
With *heavy* emphasis on "within its own capabilities". This, and other "autopilot"-related collisons, prove that its capabilities are, at times, far worse than would be even remotely acceptable from a complete novice driver out on their first ever lesson.
"g) Fail to spot something that may require driver action"
Yep, it seems to be pretty good at that...
The thing about "autopilot" is that, whilst all of its individual parts seem like a good idea, and indeed in some cases *are* a good idea - hence them being available from pretty much every other car manufacturer on the planet - the way all these parts have been lumped together under the "autopilot" moniker and promoted, knowingly or otherwise, to Tesla owners as being something rather more than it actually is, is what makes so many of us deeply uneasy about it. And crashes like this one, which should have been well within the capabilities of "autopilot" to cope with despite the idiotic behaviour of the driver, really don't help its cause one bit.