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Elon Musk's 'reckless' comment about the capabilities of Tesla's Autopilot could put drivers at risk, an expert says (TSLA)

Elon Musk's 'reckless' comment about the capabilities of Tesla's Autopilot could put drivers at risk, an expert says (TSLA)
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters



Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during the automaker's fourth-quarter earnings call that Autopilot, Tesla's semi-autonomous driver-assistance system, was capable of full autonomy on highways.




No auto or tech company has created a fully or semi-autonomous driving system that can operate on the highway without any human attention, Mary Cummings, a professor at Duke who studies the interaction between humans and autonomous driving systems, told Business Insider.




Musk has overstated Autopilot's capabilities, which could put Tesla owners at risk of misusing Autopilot, said Sam Abuelsamid, a senior research analyst for Navigant.




Tesla did not respond to questions about Musk's Autopilot comment, but a Tesla representative directed Business Insider to a page on the automaker's website that describes Tesla's approach to vehicle safety and includes data about accident rates for Tesla vehicles with and without Autopilot activated.



Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a bold statement during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in late January when he said that Autopilot, Tesla's semi-autonomous driver-assistance system, was capable of full autonomy on highways.
"We already have full self-driving capability on highways. So from highway on-ramp to highway exit, including passing cars and going from one highway interchange to another, full self-driving capability is there," he said.
Musk added that "in a few weeks," Tesla will allow owners to remove an Autopilot setting that requires them to approve lane changes their vehicle suggests in markets where the update receives regulatory approval. He said he believed the update would receive approval in the US in the near-term and eventually in all other markets.
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