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Own a Tesla? Here is what you need to know about Autopilot

If you are one of the fortunate Tesla owners in Florida and elsewhere, you realize that this groundbreaking vehicle has technology that may eventually shape how all manufacturers make cars in the future. Fully automated, self-driving cars are not yet a part of our reality, but the Autopilot driver assistance feature of Tesla vehicles almost comes close. You have worked hard all your life to deserve one of these innovative vehicles during your retirement, but it is important to know the limitations of the Autopilot technology.

Business Insider explains that Autopilot can make it safer and easier to switch lanes, brake, parallel park and back up. You may even summon your vehicle to pick you up from a short distance away. Tesla officials claim that Autopilot can reduce the risk of crashes by as much as 50 percent. This is impressive; however, the name “Autopilot” may fool some into thinking they can switch on the feature, kick back their feet and relax while their cars do the driving for them.

What Autopilot cannot do

This feature is primarily meant for use on freeways, not on city streets, and it does not permit you to browse your email, read the newspaper or snooze while driving. In fact, it is possible for the system to become compromised by factors such as debris, stop-and-go traffic and scenery that looks the same, which might confuse the sensors and cameras placed around your vehicle.

How you are supposed to use Autopilot

You might remember an accident in May 2016, which involved a Tesla driver in Williston, Florida. The man crashed and unfortunately, died from his injuries. According to reports, the Autopilot system had warned the driver numerous times to keep his hands on the wheel. Ultimately, the white side of a truck that matched the color of the sky confused the sensors, and the vehicle failed to brake. This is one of the reasons Tesla cautions drivers to keep their hands on the wheel even when Autopilot is engaged and to remain attentive while driving.

You may find Autopilot to be a useful tool in keeping you safe on the road. As new vehicle technologies are introduced, you and other drivers have a responsibility to know how the technology works and to follow safety instructions.