Tesla Model S has recently been equipped with the autonomous driving technology and three enthusiastic owners set a new record for completing a cross country road trip by an electric vehicle.
The drivers employed the auto-pilot for almost the entire trip.
Three friends – Deena Mastracci, Alex Roy and Carl Reese – chose to take the Tesla Model S (fitted with the auto-pilot technology) for a spin from Redonda Beach in California to New York City. They completed the trek in 57 hours 48 minutes, reported Wired.
Despite warnings from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, to be cautious as it is a new technology and requires getting used to, there have been a few reported accidents among Tesla drivers. Despite these mishap fears, the trek undertaken by the three friends reflects the enthusiasm among car owners to quickly adopt the autonomous driving technology.
According to Wired, even though the timings of the cross-country sojourn are yet to be verified and confirmed by an external independent authority, the journey was definitely a harrowing experience for the drivers. They drove 2,994 miles at an average 51.8 mph speed which includes the time spent on charging the vehicle at various Supercharger stations all through the way.
Roy said that the autopilot did give them occasional scares, primarily because the vehicle was going at great speeds. He said, ‘There were probably three or four moments where we were on autonomous mode at 90 miles an hour and hands off the wheel’, and curves appeared on the road. An experienced driver would have the necessary skills to maneuver such curves whereas an auto-pilot can only follow lanes correctly.
During these tricky situations, if Roy had not had his hands positioned so as to be ready to take over immediate control, the car could have veered off the road resulting in a catastrophe. Yet, he is not upset at this as he holds himself responsible for not keeping the speed within the system’s approved limits.
Another issue yet to be sorted out in the autonomous driving technology aspect is regarding the laws. Presently there are very few laws that govern the auto-pilot system and more work needs to be done on that front. Ray, who himself is a trained racing driver, admitted that strict adherence to approved limits is very important from a safety angle.