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So...why is it that the default autopilot behavior isn't to slow down drastically if the driver doesn't initiate manual control fast enough?

I don't think you understand. The Tesla autopilot there thinks it's doing a great job because it thinks there's just an empty lane ahead of it (it's model of the world is basically that all stationary things are just pictures on the ground).

Because it's been shown that it does not account in any way for stationary objects. It doesn't see any danger at all ahead.

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