A robotics researcher at Stanford University said that Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s semi-autonomous car technology is dangerous for cyclists. According to Heather Knight, the automaker’s self-driving technology is unable to recognize cyclists on the roads, Fortune reported.
Knight published a post titled “Tesla Autopilot Review: Bikers Will Die” on the blogging platform Medium. She and her colleague from Stanford took a Tesla for a drive to test its self-driving technology. They drove around the streets and highways of southern California.
According to Knight, Tesla’s autopilot performed well in most situations, but she found the car’s “agnostic behavior around bicyclists to be frightening.”
The Stanford researcher is concerned that drivers can “put biker lives at risk” by ignoring the autopilot’s limitations.
Knight said that Tesla’s “situation awareness display” was fairly accurate with cars, but not even close to accurate with cyclists.
“I’d estimate that Autopilot classified ~30% of other cars, and 1% of bicyclists. Not being able to classify objects doesn’t mean the Tesla doesn’t see that something is there, but given the lives at stake, we recommend that people Never Use Tesla Autopilot Around Bicyclists,” Knight said.
Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has always said that its autopilot technology isn’t fully autonomous and drivers should keep their hands on the steering wheel.
Tesla Improves Car Safety by 40%
Following a fatal accident in Florida last year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded an investigation of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system and did not find any fault in the system.
The accident involved a 2015 Tesla Model S that struck with a tractor-trailer, killing Joshua Brown. After a six-month investigation, the agency found that Tesla improved the safety of its electric cars by updating the Autopilot system. The automaker’s crash rate reduced by 40% after it enabled Autosteer in the Autopilot system, according to NHTSA.
Autosteer keeps the car within the lane and detect vehicles and objects. It analyses data gathered by a front-side camera, a radar sensor, and ultrasonic sensors, to identify lane markings and the presence of vehicles and objects on the road.
Meanwhile, shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were trading up 3.41% on Tuesday. The stock is up 56% so far this year.