US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has criticized Tesla’s Autopilot system, saying that it is “misleading” because it gives drivers the impression that they do not need to pay attention to the road. In a recent interview, Buttigieg stated that the name of the system itself, “Autopilot,” is misleading and sends the wrong message about the capabilities of the technology.
Buttigieg also said that despite the name, drivers are still responsible for the vehicle’s operation while using Autopilot. He emphasized that drivers must remain attentive and ready to take over control of the vehicle at any time.
The Secretary of Transportation’s comments come after several recent incidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot system. In one instance, a Tesla driver was arrested for driving drunk while using the system. In another, two people were killed in Texas when their Tesla crashed while using Autopilot.
Critics of Autopilot argue that the system’s name and marketing create a false sense of security, leading drivers to believe that the technology is more advanced than it actually is. Tesla, on the other hand, maintains that Autopilot is intended to be a driver assistance system and that drivers are always responsible for the operation of their vehicles.
Buttigieg’s comments also highlight a broader debate about the future of autonomous vehicles and their role in transportation. While some experts predict that self-driving cars will ultimately reduce accidents and improve safety, others caution that the technology is still in its early stages and may not be ready for widespread use for several years.
As the use of autonomous driving technology continues to grow, it is likely that regulators and policymakers will need to grapple with the many questions and concerns that surround this rapidly evolving field.