In 2016 Elon Musk said Tesla Autopilot was twice as safe as a human:
“The probability of having an accident is 50 per cent lower if you have Autopilot on,” said Musk, speaking at an energy conference in Oslo, Norway. “Even with our first version, it’s almost twice as good as a person.”
In the Tesla forum, users are now complaining that version 8 of Autopilot can’t merge properly. When another vehicle in the other merging lane is slightly ahead, Autopilot doesn’t slow and let the other vehicle in front, but instead behaves dangerously and keeps up the speed, and the Tesla vehicle gets “boxed in”.
One reason users have identified is that Autopilot can’t identify blinkers. This would be useful in cases where the other driver indicates they intend moving in first. However, the mere fact that one vehicle is partly in front of the other is usually enough.
Musk now says blinker detection will be “fully fixed” in V9 of Autopilot (due for release August 2018):
“That issue [blinker detection as related to lane merging] is better in latest Autopilot software rolling out now & fully fixed in August update as part of our long-awaited Tesla Version 9.”
But some users aren’t convinced. Human-level blinker detection (not twice as good, but just as good) is hard. Many different shapes and positions of blinkers, different weather conditions, different rates of blinking. Sunlight at a certain angle can make it difficult for human detection, and a human has information Autopilot hasn’t (including judgement as to the likely intentions of the other driver).