An investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S autopilot system has safety regulators warning drivers to not use semi-autonomous cars as if they were fully self-driving. The investigation began after a driver using autopilot in a 2015 Tesla Model S died when the car failed to spot a tractor trailer crossing its path. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) blamed the driver of the vehicle because he ignored the manufacturer’s warnings to maintain control even while using the driver-assist function. The NHTSA said it found no defects in the vehicle and would not issue a recall.

Just last year, the NHTSA released guidelines to ensure vehicle safety without slowing the development of semi-autonomous and self-driving cars. The agency says self-driving features could dramatically reduce traffic deaths by eliminating human error, which plays a role in 94 percent of fatal crashes. Although Tesla has maintained that autopilot was not responsible for the drivers death, it issued a number of over-the-air updates to the software to increased use of radar sensors and have added a feature that would disable autopilot if drivers took their hands off the wheel too many times.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have opened an investigation into a May 7th fatal crash involving a Tesla electric car. At the time of the accident, it is believed that the “Autopilot” was controlling the vehicle while the driver was distracted. Witnessed say the driver of the car may have been watching a movie when the collision happened. Continue reading

Automobile manufacturers around the world are at a historic turning point for automotive travel. Engineers predict that affordable innovative technology will change the motor vehicle and driver relationships, improving highway safety, increasing environmental benefits, expanding mobility , and creating new economic opportunities for jobs and investment. One of the most controversial technologies being debated is the use of autonomous vehicles. Continue reading

Ever since Google developed their self driving car, consumers have dreamed about the day when their vehicles could transport them to work, leaving them to concentrate on more important things or simply give them a little more time to sleep. Unfortunately multiple cameras, radar sensors, and laser range finders make the technology unobtainable for most. Continue reading

In 2012 when Google first tested their self driving car, they said that “even though the project is still in the experimental stage, it would provide a glimpse into the future of what automobiles will be able to do.” They felt that self driving cars would make it safer for motorist on the roads, improve fuel efficiency of vehicles and increase the number of people being transported.

Now, just a little over a year later, automobile technology has come one step closer to driver-less vehicles. Automobile manufacturers are already using autonomous technology to assist and in some cases correct drivers actions; but technologist, legal scholars and government regulators are debating the legal implications of the technology. They all agree that there is a potential to reduce human error and allow better fuel efficiency, but question of legal liability, privacy and insurance regulations still need to be addressed. According to O. Kevin Vincent, chief counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “the federal government does not have enough information to determine how to regulate driver-less technologies.” The technology relies heavily on global positioning satellite data and other systems, which are vulnerable to jamming by malicious computer hackers.

Google has already been lobbying states to permit autonomous driving, which indicates that the company may hope to introduce such vehicles soon. Nevada became the first state to legalize driver-less vehicles last year, , and similar laws have now been introduced before legislatures in Florida and Hawaii. It is expected that a similar bill will be introduced in California soon.