We have heard some bad things about this system, but this story may restore our faith in Tesla.
Following the first fatal crash in a Tesla using Autopilot, the company has been criticized for offering a system that isn't quite finished. Company CEO Elon Musk has certainly had his fair share of negative publicity to deal with, but this amazing story from Slate could help flip public opinion on the issue. The story revolves around a 37-year old attorney from Missouri, Joshua Neally. Neally had recently purchased a Tesla Model X, which he nicknamed Ender, from the book Ender's Game. As it turns out, the car named Ender may have saved his life.
Neally was on his way home to celebrate his daughter's fourth birthday. En route, Neally claims he felt a pain that was like "a steel pole through my chest." After calling his wife, he decided that he needed to go to the hospital and the Tesla's Autopilot system could get him there quicker than calling an ambulance. The Model X navigated more than 20 miles on the highway before Neally steered the car into the hospital parking lot. The doctors say that he suffered a pulmonary embolism, which is a potentially fatal obstruction in the lungs. It is hard to say whether Neally would have been able to drive a normal car to the hospital, or if the pain of the embolism would have caused him to lose control.
Neally does admit that it may have been "more prudent to pull over and call an ambulance." However, in the moment he decided the Autopilot could probably get him there quicker. Consumer reports has recommended that Tesla disable the Autopilot system, because it can mislead consumers. The system may be imperfect, but if you understand its limitations, it's still very useful. In some instances, like Neally's life threatening situation, Tesla's Autopilot could be a last resort that may actually save lives.