Tesla Model S Autopilot
Armen Hareyan's picture

It's Time for Tesla To Change The Name of AutoPilot and Here is One Good Name

There is a difference between Tesla Model S Autopilot system and passenger jet Autopilot systems, and because of this big difference Tesla should consider changing the name of the Autopilot to something more telling and something more precies.

Change it from AutoPilot to Co-pilot. It's more obvious and more specific. You can't put untrained people into a passenger car and say you have an autopilot. Anything can go wrong. But it turns out that it's a driver-assist, not autopilot.

Autopilot vs Co-pilot

If Tesla changes the name from Autopilot to Co-pilot, this way the Model S and Model X drivers will get a better clue and a better reminder that they must continue to be actively engaged in their EV driving. Co-Pilot, in this way, would be a great driver-assist feature worth having if used properly.

People who see and hear Co-pilot, they won't plan on taking a nap or reading emails while driving. I am afraid Autopilot translates into different types of nonsense of playing cars or games that had shown on the internet before the Florida Model S accident. On the other hand, Co-pilot feature has a different connotation.

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I understand that the future the driving will be fully autonomous. However, since we are not there yet, we need to be constantly reminded that we must pay attention while driving. We must follow the instructions on how properly use autopilot and be responsible drivers for all the people on the road.

Some counter this and say that people understand what Autopilot in Tesla Model S is and those who are carefully will be careful. Yet, it is obvious that many people who get involved in various traffic accidents don't understand what rules are and need better messages to their brains. "People don't seem to read the manual and they assume that the Autopilot in Tesla Model S has more capability than it actually has. "Co" as the prefix implies two entities involved. "Auto" as in automatic gives the uninformed the wrong impression. Imagine 10X as many people driving around in a Model 3 with similar capabilities," explains Bob Calvo in Tesla's Model S forum.

Tesla Model S and Model X drivers who display responsible behavior shouldn't have a problem, but the uninformed and undisciplined need to be educated or guided with better user constraints allowing excessive hands-free operation.

In fact, if I am not mistaken the Manual calls it the driver assistance. At least we can use this name instead of Autopilot. What are your thoughts? Do you agree?

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The term "Auto-pilot" was first introduced in the car market since 1958. You can Google image "Auto-pilot 1958 Imperial." People could understood that it still required a qualified operator at that time so after 58 years, what's the fuss? Autopilot in aviation is not perfect and it does not prevent all the crashes: Asiana Airlines Flight 214 captain "selected an inappropriate autopilot mode." Aeroflot Flight 593 was the combination of human and machine competition, Colgan Flight 3407, Air France Flight 447, UPS Flight 1354... Tesla Autopilot can reduce injuries and fatalities in many scenarios but not all. Switching name to "Co-pilot" does not help because "There are no flight tasks that the co-pilot, or first officer, cannot or does not do... The primary difference is rank." The solution is to follow instructions. Read your manual.