A few days ago news was reported regarding a Tesla Model S accident where the car crashed into a tree and caught fire, resulting in the death of two men aged 59 and 69 years old. It was one of the first Tesla crashes where someone actually had died. Following the accident, Tesla came under heavy backlash and scrutiny blaming the company’s autopilot system for the crash.
Mark Herman, a Harris County Precinct 4 Constable told multiple reporters and outlets after the crash that investigators were almost 100 percent sure that no one was behind the wheel when the vehicle crashed. This led to many media outlets blaming the Autopilot system and faulting it. This led to the current predicament where Elon Musk called out all claims as false.
CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk said on Monday that “It was claimed to be autopilot, but this is completely false”. He also further added that all the journalists claiming otherwise should be ashamed of themselves. Phew, good thing I didn’t. Though the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are still investigating the crash. Tesla did a little internal investigation of their own.
Lars Moravy, VP of vehicle engineering at Tesla said that “We were able to find that the steering wheel was indeed deformed, leading to a likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash”. He said that after examining the remains of the car they found out that the auto-steering feature on the Model S was not engaged at the time of impact, and the seat belts were unbuckled after the crash
One could argue that Tesla is partially to blame for making people so faithful about their Autopilot system but the company has reminded customers time and time again that the system is only capable of steering, braking, and accelerating the vehicle in lane-marked roads in certain situations. Drivers are supposed to be in their seats and supervise the vehicle at all times.
Musk has also revealed plans to overhaul the autopilot system and end the use of radar technology. He said that Tesla plans to shift to cameras alone.