A Seattle driver was going at 45 mph when he almost rammed into a sudden left turn, until autopilot kicked in.
Jon Hall, a Seattlean, told Geekwire that he was driving at around 45 miles per hour on State Route 99 when the black car took a sharp left onto oncoming traffic. As you can see, anyone without lightning-fast reflexes would have collided immediately with the car.
The autopilot touts the use of the front camera, the car's radar, ultrasonics, and GPS tracker to track cars coming from the car's front or side. It's the first time a company has let its users try out autonomous driving outside of a testing situation—Google's cars have been tremendously cautious for safe measure.
But Tesla's autopilot feature has already been causing consternation. Turning on autopilot, even highways where it's recommended, asks you to trust your safety with a tested, but not infallible bit of software. Remember: car crashes cause about 33,000 deaths a year, and autonomous driving hasn't been field tested enough to convince people it's going to bring it down.
"The responsibility remains with the driver. We're not asserting that the car is capable is driving in the absence of driver oversight," Elon Musk said in a Bloomberg interview a year ago, when asked who would be responsible when an autopiloted Tesla S crashes.
This time, that feature probably saved someone's life. But you should never bet on it every time. Keep your foot on the brakes, folks. Stay vigilant.