Skip to Content
Smart cities

A new Autopilot crash is a reminder: driverless cars aren’t here yet

January 24, 2018

People seem to think some commercially available cars are autonomous—but they’re really not.

The news: On Monday, a Tesla Model S smashed into a fire truck at 65 miles per hour. The (unharmed) driver says he was using Autopilot. Elsewhere, a drunk driver tried and failed to talk his way out of arrest by insisting that Autopilot was in control.

Backstory: In 2016, a Tesla owner died when his car was driving autonomously and failed to detect a semi trailer across the road ahead. 

Autonomy PSA: No car can safely drive itself in all conditions. While some firms are embarking on experimental trials using autonomous cars without safety drivers, they’re still not perfect. And no commercially available vehicle has the technology necessary to allow drivers to safely stop paying attention.

Danger ahead: As we’ve argued, semi-autonomous cars could make roads more dangerous in coming years if drivers are lulled into distraction and can’t take control of the car when things go wrong.

Deep Dive

Smart cities

AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept
AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept

The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere

The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.

Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project
Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project

Toronto wants to kill the smart city forever

The city wants to get right what Sidewalk Labs got so wrong.

sensory inputs
sensory inputs

Why sounds and smells are as vital to cities as the sights

The growing field of sensory urbanism is changing the way we assess neighborhoods and projects.

Marseilles surveillance cameras
Marseilles surveillance cameras

Marseille’s battle against the surveillance state

The boisterous, rebellious port city is trying to fight the growing ubiquity of policing cameras.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.