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What the Tech?!: Self-driving cars

Self-driving+cars%2C+such+as+this+Tesla+Model+S%2C+have+been+involved+in+multiple+crashes+in+recent+years.
Self-driving cars, such as this Tesla Model S, have been involved in multiple crashes in recent years.

Self-driving cars, such as this Tesla Model S, have been involved in multiple crashes in recent years.

Courtesy of The New York Times

Courtesy of The New York Times

Self-driving cars, such as this Tesla Model S, have been involved in multiple crashes in recent years.

Eli Weitzman, Eastside Webmaster

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The world of technology never sleeps, nor takes a break in the summer. So, I’m back again! Welcome to a very special summer edition of “What the Tech?!.” Just a note to y’all, I am currently living in Redmond, Washington for the summer, working at a Microsoft internship. But enough about that. Let’s talk about self-driving cars.

Courtesy of The New York Times
Self-driving cars, such as this Tesla Model S, have recently been involved in multiple crashes.

Self-driving cars are ones that, by definition, are controlled by computers and “drive” themselves. They’re cool, and everyone wants them. But they definitely aren’t quite ready for prime time, in my opinion. Just look at Tesla, which has already rolled out a basic form of self-driving called “Autopilot.” While this feature is cool, it has shed light on the problems of self-driving. There have been numerous crashes in the past few months in Tesla vehicles, most of which have been caused by Autopilot. However, the real ones to blame here are not really Tesla or its Autopilot software; they’re the drivers.

Investigations into these crashes have shown that the reason they occurred is that the human drivers either fell asleep or took their hands off the steering wheel and were distracted while using Autopilot. And while I understand that it is self-driving, we should not yet put as much faith and reliance into this platform as we have.

Self-driving cars are not perfect, as evidenced by the various accidents they have caused. And Tesla isn’t the only example. Uber has been pilot testing a self-driving car of its own, which has also had an accident or two. Waymo hasn’t gone too public yet with its tech but has probably experienced its own set of problems as well. Overall, I love this new technology as much as anyone else. But we need to give it a bit more time before we start to completely rely on our vehicles driving themselves.

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