Volvo Engineer Takes A Dig At Tesla's Autopilot Feature

Technology

You may be impressed but Volvo clearly isn't.

Tesla's Autopilot feature is hugely impressive but not everyone is sold on it. BMW has already taken a stab at the technology and now Volvo is taking aim. In an interview with The Verge, Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo, called Tesla's Autopilot an "unsupervised wannabe." He said that "Tesla is trying to create an semi-autonomous car that appears to be autonomous." In simple terms, he doesn't trust the system to drive the car if the driver is not paying attention. Victor says that Volvo's system will be much better.

Tesla claims that its technology is Level 2 autonomous, meaning it combines two technologies to create the autonomous experience. However, some industry experts believe that the system is Level 3 autonomous, meaning that it takes over safety-critical functions from the driver. With many people testing the Tesla without even being in the drivers seat, these experts may have a point. Victor says that Volvo does not believe in Level 3 autonomy because the driver needs to be ready to take over the car. For its part, Volvo will be launching an experimental Level 4 autonomous car next year. This car will supposedly be able to drive itself down the road without the need for human intervention if something goes wrong.

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Victor says that "in our concept, if you don't take over, if you have fallen asleep or are watching a film, then we will take responsibility still. We won't just turn [autonomous mode] off." Does Volvo have a point here, or are other manufacturers just trying to tear Tesla down? We have our doubts about autonomous systems if they fail, but if Volvo can create one that requires no human intervention, that would be pretty cool.

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