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Published: 2/Nov/2020 15:32 Updated: 2/Nov/2020 15:36by Kieran Bicknell
Electric car brand Tesla has often been the subject of controversy over their so-called ‘Autopilot’ system. Despite concerns, the full self-driving update has now gone live, and where better to test it than San Francisco’s infamous Lombard Street.
Tesla recently announced that their ‘full self-driving’ update is now live. Costing $10,000 to update, according to Tesla the car is completely capable of driving itself, with minimal human input.
Not surprisingly, things haven’t gone perfectly. Of course, people are taking the name ‘autopilot’ at face value, and not monitoring their car while its on the move. Others have been a little more skeptical of the update, and have chosen to put it through its paces before trusting it entirely.
One such person is Tesla owner and vlogger Tesla Raj, who chose to put his ‘autopilot’ system to the test on the world’s most twisted road – Lombard Street in San Francisco, California.
Given that the road is tricky enough for humans to navigate due to its tight turns and steep inclines, it would be a true ‘trial by fire’ for the automated Tesla system.
Initially, Raj is confident, saying to his co-pilot “we got this.. it should be good, it should be good right?” However, disaster struck on the first bend.
Going into the corner, the pair were initially excited, and then quickly had that excitement crushed: “It’s doing it, it’s doing it… not it’s not going to do it” exclaimed Raj, as he manually input the correct amount of steering lock.
Tesla’s system may be called ‘Autopilot’ but it still requires human intervention. Not only that, but it also requires hands to be placed on the wheel still while driving.
Watching the self-driving system plot its course, the pair are quick to point out that despite the system “seeing” the corner, it doesn’t calculate the correct amount of steering angle or speed to safely navigate the bend.
As it gets to the bottom of the hill, the car completely freezes. Due to the complex nature of the roads and the junction ahead, the car completely locks up and requires human override.
Despite repeated failures, the Tesla does manage to navigate a couple of the turns unassisted. Reflecting on the challenge, Raj says it didn’t “do bad, considering this is one of the hardest streets [to navigate].”
Given that it struggled with a 15mph residential road, the system clearly has some way to go before it can be completely trusted. Regardless, it is an impressive technological advancement, even if it isn’t ‘polished’ as of yet.