The First Tesla Autopilot Fatality
A Tesla Autopilot Fatality occurred for the first time over the weekend. According to Tesla, there were extenuating circumstances. Tesla explains that a large tractor trailer crossed a divided highway at a particularly sunny time of day. The bright sun made it hard for both Autopilot and the driver to see. However, the NHTSA opened a preliminary evaluation of Autopilot’s performance during the crash. In an accident involving a fatality and newly implemented technology, this is standard procedure.
Tesla Autopilot Beta Phase
Tesla took the opportunity to remind everyone that Autopilot is still in public beta testing phase. Every vehicle comes stock with Autopilot disengaged. If the vehicle’s driver chooses to use Autopilot, they are confronted with a lengthy statement explaining the risks. They are also given explicit instructions governing its use. For example, statements such as these appear immediately: Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times”…you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle while using it… Always keep your hands on the wheel. Be prepared to take over at any time.”
Tesla wishes to convey that although Autopilot is not perfect, the first Autopilot fatality occurred at just over 130,000,000 miles. The US average among all vehicles is one fatality for every 94,000,000 miles driven and the worldwide average is 60,000,000 miles.
Tesla Honors The Deceased
Tesla honored the deceased, showing that they truly value their loyal customers. The following statement was released:
“The customer who died in this crash had a loving family and we are beyond saddened by their loss. He was a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community, a person who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”