Autonomous – Semi-Autonomous – Self-Driving – Hand Free – Driverless – Auto Pilot – Pilot Assist.
These are new terms that are causing confusion as the auto industry and drivers embrace this new, fast changing technology and struggle with driver education, safety concerns, rules, regulations, and legal matters.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is working with companies who are developing driverless and partly autonomous cars to adapt existing safety rules and regulations to the new technologies. It is not an easy task. Unfortunately, the world experienced its first known fatality in a Tesla Model S Sedan using autonomous technology, not to mention, many now documented driverless car crashes.
It is vital that consumers understand this technology and innovation is evolving, and it will take some time before driving truly becomes autonomous or self-driving. Until then, vehicle owners are strongly encouraged to remain alert and to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times, even when using the autopilot or the hands-free features. Today, we are not at a place where a driver can “simply check-out and not pay attention.”