Monday, May 17, 2021


 I'm not an aviator, but I know several.  They tell me that having an autopilot in the stack is a remarkable device that saves time, reduces fatigue and improves efficiency.  But the pilot on the controls is still responsible for flying the plane.

I drive a Honda Odyssey, and it has some remarkable safety features.  Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep-assist, and road departure mitigation.  But, it's not an autopilot, ad while it will help me steer and keep me safe, I's not an autopilot.  If I release the steering wheel for 15 seconds, all the safety features turn off.  While these features reduce driver fatigue, improve safety, and increase efficiency, I am still responsible for driving the vehicle.

Tesla makes a remarkable vehicle which has a driving mode called autopilot.  I'm sure it's wonderful, but it relies on advanced technology to operate.  And, the vehicle still has a steering wheel and a brake pedal.

There have been two crashes recently, still under investigation, where autopilot may have played a role in the crash.  All drivers should remember, like all aviators, that the nut behind the wheel is still responsible for driving the vehicle.  Just like in aviation, the autopilot is a great tool, but it doesn't relieve the pilot from the responsibility of operating the vehicle.


Judy said...

Cruise control is as far down the 'autopilot' route I want to go. It keeps my foot out of the carburetor and it relieves the pressure off my bum right-knee. It also improves my attention for some reason, probably because I'm not trying to look at the speed-o-meter at the same time as keeping my head on a swivel paying attention to what's going on around me.

Old NFO said...

Yep, the nut behind the wheel is STILL responsible, be it a car or an airplane... sigh And anybody that has used an autopilot for real NEVER lets go of the wheel!

BobF said...

I wonder if people who are self-defense-trained to be situationally aware might be more prone to proper use of such things. The nuts who read texts, books, papers, etc., while the car does its own thing scare me and I DO see them on the local freeways (Orlando area).