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Autopilot and speed limit implications

Tony Freeman

New Member
Jan 12, 2016
Poughkeepsie, NY
Has it been discussed already whether or not there is a need for a speed limit when cars become fully autonomous?
I was thinking about the statement by a few tesla owners that have experienced the autopilot features and the warned subsequent "revolt" by those few individuals and the threat of legal action against Tesla. In regards to whether the autopilot feature was toned down against the wishes of some for the moment while the technology was being refined especially due to the irresponsible actions of some owners, I was thinking about the desire to have control over the vehicle even beyond what is considered reasonable on the road. It seems two actions are demonstrated here which upon first impulse seems selfish and reprehensible.
First there are the owners playing hide and seek or iron chef while video taping their escapades. In order to impress others, certain privileges were taken to an extreme. At present, there was an apparent lack of foresight which threatened to derail the whole beta test for the well behaved members of this pioneering group. I imagine one of these individuals crashing into someone else and causing a wreck that is worse than any electrical fire because this was a 'Tesla' and it was pushing boundaries too fast for the principles of safety to keep up.
Second, there are several individuals that insist on the need to have autopilot be able to drive above the speed limit, otherwise they feel "limited." On first impulse, it seems to run counter to the idea that there is a speed limit for a reason, and it seems that there is an apparent lack of appreciation for the design of the laws that made speed limits necessary and/or an acquiescence to the "flow of traffic" argument- or that traffic is actually traveling at a speed different from the posted speed limits.
Eventually it will be the case that individuals will be able to perform a number of shenanigans while the autopilot is running. We will even be able to fall asleep- which will be very nice, actually.
But I am thinking about the idea of setting the autopilot to drive faster than the speed limit. Is this responsible? It seems like its leaving so much open to criticism, between Tesla and the driver. However, the concept of autopilot is that it is suppose to be safer than a human driver. All of the failings that a human has and which create the dangers of driving at high speed can be dealt with by a computer system to ensure safety. Therefore, the quickest way to get to a destination should be encouraged, not limited.
Are individuals who are requesting that the autopilot still be able to travel above the posted speed limit ahead of their time or is it just a selfish request to automate a rebellious behavior and make the machines accomplices to human discretion?
Thank you!

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