Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Autopiloting in a Tesla


February 26, 2016

Wow, today started out very interesting.  This morning at 9:35am I headed out to run a work errand that would take me into Austin's quaint Hyde Park to Antonelli's Cheese Shop.  My regular commute to most of Austin includes Farm to Market 2222 (a.k.a. FM 2222 a.k.a. RM 2222), one of the dangerous highways in Texas.  Regularly individuals are choose to drive with lack of control, using no particular care to pass pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles or other vehicles that share the roadway.  Unexpectedly, I had to slam on my brakes at the top of the steep hill of FM2222 due to a severe collision involving a dump truck that was not visible from where I was located.  Next thing I know a motorcycle flies into the opposite lane and a man is lying on the ground about 3 cars behind me.  After seeing others go to help the man and making a quick assessment of me being blocked in from all sides of the road I choose to make a U-turn (a safe, legitimate one as no cars are coming in the opposite direction) and then witness emergency services arriving and performing CPR on the man's chest.  Ugh.

Man! Sometimes you just need to start the weekend early so at 3 p.m. I hopped back onto FM2222 to head to Tesla Motors to follow through with an invitation from last November.  Again I pass another collision that was bad and again the traffic was backed up for a long time.  Thankfully, I was able to navigate around 2222 using back roads that most Austinites don't know about and those who do covet.  It wasn't until I drove the Tesla in autopilot mode on the busy highway I really understood the need for those smart technology vehicles to ease the craziness and road rage on our streets.  It seriously hit home today.

Being in a car with an autopilot mode is certainly a dream but one that you cannot truly imagine or understand until you are behind the wheel without touching it in the middle of rush hour traffic on Mo-Pac.  It was truly surreal.  I did not have to control the car. The Tesla sped up to 65 miles an hour and slowed down and continued smoothly in stop and go traffic with cars on all sides of me.  It even switched lanes on it's own with just that tap of the turn signal.  Amazing.  I mean ridiculously amazing.  Of course, we have all read the articles and consumer reports on auto pilot methods and self driving cars but to think that you know what the hell the industry is talking about until you have done it is a complete bologna.  Once you have auto-piloted a car or experienced a self driving car behind the wheel yourself, you have connected with the vehicle on an entirely different level.  So today I cruised the streets of Austin in Tesla's AutoPilot.  It was amazing! Insane! Loveable!

I am a very particular person when it comes to vehicle seat design and it's functionality.  I must sit straight up and cannot have some funky object touching the lumbar region.  My steering wheel must be perfect, not too skinny where I'm gripping so tight that my knuckles hurt and not to fat that I don't feel in control.  Somehow, this car was perfect to me the moment I sat in it.  And it's adjusts to everyone.  

Tesla Model S 70D is considered the Car of the Century by some and I can certainly understand some of the points.  At 32 years old, I've been strongly considering an SUV for my next vehicle for a multitude of reasons that do include travel, children, and pets.  The Model S sedan rectifies the need for an SUV by safely securing seven passengers when adding rear facing seats to the sedans package.  Insane!!!

To end the ride, my Tesla for the day backed into the parking spot on its own.  Lord Have Mercy.

So the day ended fabulously, but to my satisfaction the gallery set me up to take the car home next week to enjoy it on my own terms.  XOXO, get yourself a Tesla!

~Angela O'


Video Credit Tesla Motors via YouTube


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