Earlier this month, Tesla unlocked self-driving features for Model S sedans in the 7.0 software update. The company warned its drivers that Autopilot was still in its beta phase and that drivers “must keep their hands on the steering wheel” at all times, but predictably many drivers have chosen to do the opposite, freeing their hands from the wheel to see how well the self-driving system would fare on its own.
The experiments uncovered a number of flaws in Autopilot, which Tesla drivers proceeded to report on its official forum—most notably, cars on Autopilot would repeatedly try to exit on any offramp, and they would often swerve toward the car in front, even if that car was driving in the opposite direction—with the consensus being that there was good reason the new self-driving settings were labeled beta.
“I had the steering shut down on me no less than 5 times today alone and that doesn’t include the multiple times I had to jump in to prevent a false turn or collision,” wrote one Model S owner on the forum. “I predict that within several weeks there will be a rash of reported accidents involving Teslas whose owners are using the steering system with insufficient care and monitoring.”