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People doing ‘crazy things’ with Tesla’s autopilot are spoiling it for everybody - The Washington Post

An employee drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile, equipped with Autopilot hardware and software, hands-free on a highway in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, Oct. 27, 2015. Tesla started equipping the Model S with hardware -- radar, a forward-looking camera, 12 long-range sensors, GPS -- to enable the autopilot features about a year ago. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Tesla chief executive Elon Muskis warningthat some new limits may be coming to the company's autopilot feature because of "some fairly crazy videos on YouTube" showing drivers behaving dangerously while the car is in control.

Tesla doesn't recommend taking your hands off the wheel while the car is in autopilot mode. Yet that's exactly what some people are doing, leading to things like near-misses with other vehicles:

and close shaves with the curb:

Even the New York Times' video review made a big deal out of being able to drive hands-free.

"This is not good," Musk said on an earnings call this week. "We'll put on some constraints on autopilot to minimize people doing crazy things with it."

Musk didn't elaborate on what kinds of new restrictions autopilot users could soon face, though it's likely that they would show up in the form of another software update. On the plus side, Musk said, there's some evidence that autopilot has already helped prevent "many accidents" so far among the 40,000 Tesla vehicles that have it.Here's another YouTube video to that effect, appearing to show theTeslaslowing down for another car that was making an ill-advised turn into oncoming traffic.

The warning from Tesla is just the latest from high-techautomakers about the dangerous ease some peoplehave inceding their control to a relatively new technology. Google's latest monthly update on its driverless car project reported that at least one test driver turned around to look for something in the backseat while the computer was doing the driving at 65 mph on the freeway.

"We saw human nature at work," Google said in its report. "People trust technology very quickly once they see it works."

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