KEY POINTS

  • US Senator Markey released a couple of recommendations for Tesla's Autopilot system
  • One is to change the name of the Autopilot system because it is misleading
  • The other is to add safety and preventive features to the Autopilot system

The Tesla Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that improves safety and offers convenience behind the wheel. On Friday, US Senator Ed Markey said the electric vehicle maker should rename its Autopilot because the name is "inherently misleading." Now, Tesla defends Autopilot claiming that it introduced safety features to prevent misuse. 

Tesla Defends Autopilot System

US electric vehicle maker Tesla released a letter last Friday, reports Reuters. The letter states that it has made vital steps to secure driver engagement with the Autopilot system. The driver assistance system has received improvements on its safety features as well, says Tesla.

In its letter, Tesla says it has released new warnings for stop signs and red light in 2019. The improvements were meant to reduce the possible risk of red-light running because of the driver's divided attention. Revisions were also made on the steering wheel monitoring.

Tesla Autopilot The inside of a Tesla vehicle is viewed as it travels along a highway. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Because of this, "a limp hand on the wheel from a sleepy driver will not work, nor will the coarse hand pressure of a person with impaired motor controls, such as a drunk driver," the electric automaker notes in the letter.

Sen. Markey's Recommendations

On Friday, the US Senator and the member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee released some recommendations to Tesla following his review of its Autopilot system. In a statement, he said that the Autopilot is a flawed system, but its dangers could be subdued.

He admitted to having worked with Tesla on cleaner and sustainable transportation tech. However, he said that it should not compromise safety. The US Senator called on the company to utilize its expertise and resources to provide features that could better protect passengers, drivers, pedestrians, and all road users. 

According to Markey, his current recommendations are products of media reports showing how Tesla drivers abused the vehicle's Autopilot system. He recommended that Tesla should change the name of the Autopilot system. The purpose is to provide clarification that it is not totally autonomous, which means drivers must stay in control even with the Autopilot enabled.

Markey also recommended that the electric vehicle maker must create more safeguards for the system. This way, users could be prevented from working around the system.