Tesla News: Autopilot Death in China & Oil Exec Impersonates Elon Musk

Autopilot Death in China

Its been quite an eventful week for Tesla and Elon Musk. On the heels of a significant disappointment for Elon’s company SpaceX, it is being reported that an Autopilot death occurred in China earlier this year. The situation came to light when the father of the deceased recently sued Tesla for misinformation leading to wrongful death. Tesla, and Elon Musk, promoted the idea that only one death had occurred in 130 million miles of driving, while the national average is 94 million miles. Another death greatly alters these figures, bringing into question the safety of Autopilot.

Tesla has known about the Autopilot death in China, but they maintain that the evidence is inconclusive. Alexis Georgeson, Tesla spokeswoman, released this statement about the crash:

“Because of the damage caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers, and we therefore have no way of knowing whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash… We have tried repeatedly to work with our customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but he has not provided us with any additional information that would allow us to do so,” she said of the car’s owner, Mr. Gao’s father…”We take any incident with our vehicles very seriously and immediately reached out to our customer when we learned of the crash.”

Though no clear cut evidence exists, a video captured the event through a camera attached to the rearview mirror. The video shows the Model S plowing into the back of a street sweeper without braking or swerving. The street sweeper was in between the left shoulder and the left lane. A few similar Autopilot accidents have occurred.

Fortunately for Tesla, this accident came to light just a few days after Tesla published a significant update for Autopilot. Elon Musk believes that these new updates will make Autopilot significantly safer and would have prevented the fatality in Florida.

Oil Exec Impersonates Elon Musk

Everyone agrees that Elon Musk has his hands full. Now he’s taking time out to prevent oil execs from impersonating him. Its like a juicy television plot; tune in for all the twists and turns as detectives uncover the secret world of corporate espionage. Well, the secret’s out of the bag. Tesla is suing Todd Katz, CFO of Quest Integrity Group, in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County. Quest Integrity Group provides services for oil and gas companies including BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil. You can read all about the Elon Musk impersonation drama here.