At the Tokyo Motor Show various driverless tech is on display, and an undercurrent among some major automakers surrounds Tesla’s release of Autopilot.
Off-the-record comments have been made, and at least one major player has publicly said what others are only thinking and saying in private.
“If there is a major accident involving automated driving, technological advancement will stop suddenly,” said Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda to reporters behind the stage of Toyota’s booth at the show.
According to the Daily Kanban, a feeling being expressed by more than just Toyoda is Tesla CEO Elon Musk is being reckless with Autopilot in “beta” stage which has seen several motorists post videos of near accidents using Tesla’s highway only system.
Several automakers have systems that are more capable yet they are erring on the safe side and not releasing their autonomous tech until 2-4 years further testing.
One such example is Nissan which is letting journalists get a hands-free demo ride this week in far-more challenging dense urban traffic with its tech that is clearly more capable than Autopilot.
As for EV-avoiding Toyota, this is not the first time company bigwigs have taken a position in direct conflict with the vision held by Tesla.
That did not stop Akio Toyoda from taking another subtle poke to the smiles of journalists saying in a few words what he – and reportedly other major automakers – think of Tesla’s gambit.
“When we at Toyota say something publicly, it must be real,” Akio Toyoda told reporters, who perceived the hint clearly who Toyoda thinks is not real.
So far no one has been reported as having an accident in a Tesla with Autopilot. If a death or accident occur, the fear is it will be a setback from a reactive public.
Tesla says it is not liable if anything happens, and says owners must accept responsibility for using Autopilot.