Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Tesla Model S Drivers Set Record-Breaking Cross Country Trip Using Autopilot Almost Entire Time

Business
Tesla Model S Drivers Set Record-Breaking Cross Country Trip Using Autopilot Almost Entire Time

A Tesla Model S completed a cross-country road trip in record time for an electric vehicle—and the car drove itself almost the entire way. Three friends—Carl Reese, Deena Mastracci and Alex Roy—made the trek from Redonda Beach, California to New York City in 57 hours and 48 minutes, according to Wired.

The autopilot feature was added as an update to Tesla cars just last week. Stephen Colbert, a proud Tesla owner, has already expressed how ecstatic he was about the new feature on the Late ShowAlthough there have already been some mishaps among Tesla drivers, even though Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned drivers to be very careful because the technology is so new.

But the trio's cross-country journey "highlights how quickly and enthusiastically autonomous technology is likely to be adopted, and how tricky it may be to keep in check once drivers get their first taste of freedom behind the wheel." As Colbert said on the Late Show, "this technology is self-driving towards us whether we like it or not."

The group's time still has to be verified by an independent third party, according to Wired. Regardless, their journey sounded harrowing.

Wired writes:

They covered 2,994 miles at an average speed of 51.8 mph, a figure that includes the time spent plugged into Supercharger stations along the way. They had autopilot mode engaged 96 percent of the time, Reese says, using it at speeds around 90 mph. It eased the burden on the team, a big deal when you’re in a car for 57 hours straight.

Autopilot caused a few scares, Roy says, largely because the car was moving so quickly. “There were probably three or four moments where we were on autonomous mode at 90 miles an hour, and hands off the wheel,” and the road curved, Roy says. Where a trained driver would aim for the apex—the geometric center of the turn—to maintain speed and control, the car follows the lane lines. “If I hadn’t had my hands there, ready to take over, the car would have gone off the road and killed us.” He’s not annoyed by this, though. “That’s my fault for setting a speed faster than the system’s capable of compensating.”

Laws will have to catch up with technology as there are very few rules governing autonomous driving. Even Roy, a trained racing driver, admits that “there’s no reason this car should be allowed to go 20 or 30 miles per hour over the speed limit in autonomous mode.” Still, Musk and Tesla congratulated the team on Twitter.

And this isn't even the crew's first record-breaking trip. In April, Reese and Mastracci set a record for the least amount of time spent charging an electric vehicle while driving across the country. And Roy set an unofficial record in 2006, driving from New York to LA in just 31 hours and four minutes.

Watch them refuel at the Supercharging station in Englewood, Ohio:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Donald Trump Blames Intern for Tweet Insulting Monsanto, Ben Carson and Iowa Republicans

SeaWorld Orca Too ‘Depressed’ to Nurse Her Calf + 7 Other Reasons Killer Whales Should Not Be Captive

Hydrogen Fuel Cell vs. Electric Cars: Which Will Drive Us Into the Future?

3 Autopilot Fail Videos Show Why Tesla Owners Still Need to Keep Hands on Wheel

A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world, as The Guardian reported. That puts the number of species at risk near 140,000.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Flowers like bladderwort have changed their UV pigment levels in response to the climate crisis. Jean and Fred / CC BY 2.0

As human activity transforms the atmosphere, flowers are changing their colors.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A factory in Newark, N.J. emits smoke in the shadow of NYC on January 18, 2018. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

By Sharon Zhang

Back in March, when the pandemic had just planted its roots in the U.S., President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something devastating: The agency was to indefinitely and cruelly suspend environmental rule enforcement. The EPA complied, and for just under half a year, it provided over 3,000 waivers that granted facilities clemency from state-level environmental rule compliance.

Read More Show Less
A meteoroid skims the earth's atmosphere on Sept. 22, 2020. European Space Agency

A rare celestial event was caught on camera last week when a meteoroid "bounced" off Earth's atmosphere and veered back into space.

Read More Show Less
A captive elephant is seen at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Littlebourne, England. Suvodeb Banerjee / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Bob Jacobs

Hanako, a female Asian elephant, lived in a tiny concrete enclosure at Japan's Inokashira Park Zoo for more than 60 years, often in chains, with no stimulation. In the wild, elephants live in herds, with close family ties. Hanako was solitary for the last decade of her life.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch