An assertive driving mode has been added to Tesla’s automatic driver assist technology.
The setting will follow other vehicles more closely, change lanes more frequently, avoid leaving the overtaking lane, and perform rolling stops. This type of human driver behaviour is regularly criticised by safety organisations.
In Tesla’s October update, the three driving profiles (calm, average, and forceful) were added for the first time. However, due to other concerns, that update was quickly pulled, but the driving profiles feature has now been restored.
Some social media users have criticised the list of behaviours as being unsafe. However, Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research in the United Kingdom believes that well-designed autonomous systems are theoretically safer than human drivers since they eliminate human mistakes.
Both Tesla’s average and forceful modes appear to contain these. The car’s description that it “would not exit passing lanes” appears to violate some area rules. Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” function is presently only available as part of a limited test in the United States.
However, in the United States, where people drive on the right, numerous states have made it unlawful to leave the right lane unless overtaking. In the United Kingdom, the Highway Code specifies that drivers should always stay in the left lane unless overtaking and should return to the left lane when it is safe to do so.
It’s unclear whether Tesla’s algorithm would account for national or state-level changes in overtaking lane laws or what the term “rolling stops” implies about stop signs.
Tesla’s so-called “complete self-driving” technology has drawn a lot of attention, with crashes and events involving the technology receiving a lot of media attention.
Despite its name, it is not considered self-driving technology, but rather a driver aid function akin to other car manufacturers’ lane assist technology. On a five-point scale of automated systems, it is at level two. Tesla owners must always be in control of their vehicles and alert, ready to take over in an emergency.