Tesla vehicles could be about to become more aggressive on the roads thanks to a major update to the cars' self-driving features.
The Tesla automated driver AI assist feature has added three new profiles which change the way its cars drives on the road.
Those that have the 'full self-driving' system activated will now be able to choose between three driver profiles which vary according to aggression, including 'chill', 'average', and 'assertive'.
While Tesla describes these as a way to "control behaviours like rolling stops, speed-based lane changes, following distance and yellow light headway", they could be used to give self-driving cars the personality of a granny or a boy racer depending on what you pick.
'Assertive' mode (which is being affectionately titled 'road rage mode') could become the bane of other drivers' lives.
If activated, Tesla drivers are informed that their vehicles "will have a smaller follow distance, perform more frequent speed lane changes, will not exit passing lanes and may perform rolling stops."
Drivers have taken to Twitter to complain about the impending changes, particularly with 'rolling stops', which are illegal in many countries and can cause you to fail a driving test.
"This is especially deadly given the fact that Tesla owners *love* to post videos of themselves sitting in the driver's seat reading, sleeping, & yes, having sex, while their car cruises at highway speed on autopilot," wrote one Twitter user.
"It's insane to me how they have every possibility to make the world a slightly better place and yet consciously choose not to every time," said another.
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One road safety expert told the BBC that a well-designed driverless car can be safer than human drivers even with an 'assertive' mode as they eliminate human error.
"If we want widespread adoption of automation, drivers are going to expect the vehicle to do and make the decisions that you would do as a human driver, not some very benign and very safe algorithm," said Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research.
Tesla's self-driving cars are still in 'beta' mode, which means they're not fully autonomous yet and require a human driver to constantly monitor them. Of course, this doesn't always happen, and has led to some accidents in the US.
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- Elon Musk
- Artificial Intelligence
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