This should be a warning to everyone considering an autonomous car. There is no such thing approved for consumers to drive on the road yet. Tesla cars are not intended to be fully autonomous – yet, drivers continue to treat them as such. Two men lost their lives in a fatal Tesla crash this past weekend. These cars are not safe enough to be completely driverless yet, and this type of thing just seems to set progress back – it shows that humans are just not ready for such a responsibility yet.
Past Tesla Autopilot Crash
There have been prior issues with Tesla and drivers employing a semi-autonomous feature called Autopilot. There’s one in particular that everyone will be Remembering after learning about this latest news.
Apple engineer Wei Lun “Walter” Huang was driving three years ago in his 2017 Tesla Model X P100D. During his drive on a California highway, he used the Autopilot feature four times.
Just before he crashed, he used Autopilot for 19 minutes. With the road splitting, the Tesla took the left. With no cars in front of it, the Tesla returned to its set speed of 75 mph, a preset of Huang’s. It drove into a damaged highway barrier that hadn’t been repaired yet. Along with the Tesla catching fire, the front end was sheared off in the crash. Huang did not survive the crash.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board ruled that Tesla, Huang, and Apple were all at fault. Huang was apparently playing a game on his iPhone at the time of the crash.
New Fatal Tesla Crash
Everything was doubled up in this recent fatal Tesla crash – two deaths, two decisions to not pay attention to the road. The two men went for a ride in a 2019 Tesla Model S. The wives of the 59-year- old and 69-year-old said the men had been discussing the Autopilot feature before they left. It appears neither of the two men were behind the wheel – one was in the front passenger seat and the other in the back seat.
The Tesla was traveling at a “high rate of speed,” went off the road, and hit a tree. Neither of them survived. They were positively identified initially, as it took longer than it should to put out the fire. It took four hours and more than 30,000 gallons of water.
The NTSB has raised concerns over batteries used in electric vehicles. When the cars make an impact at a high speed, it creates a “thermal runway,” which can lead to fires. The battery can also be reignited after a fire is initially extinguished.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted hours before the crash on Saturday that a recent safety report showed “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”
Assumably, that stat only holds if drivers respect the Tesla rules. The company’s website warns that “current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
The recent fatal Tesla crash, the 2018 crash, and w 2016 crash involving a Tesla Model S with Autopilot engaged and a tractor-trailer doesn’t prove the cars’ safety – but they do prove Autopilot isn’t safe without hands on the wheel and a foot ready to hit the brake.
Until Tesla owners learn this, we won’t get further ahead with autonomous vehicles The public sees these crashes and assumes self-driving cars will never be safe. No matter the innovation of IoT, the public will always think of these fatal Tesla crashes.
Even competitors want to distance themselves from Tesla. Read on to learn about Waymo saying Tesla was “no competitors at all.”
Image Credit: Tesla Car Crash Kills Two in Texas and public domain