Musk defends self-driving cars after new crash

Musk defends self-driving cars after new crash

Storm clouds have gathered over Tesla ever since the Model 3 went into production. The 28-year-old driver of the vehicle told police in suburban Salt Lake City that the system was switched on and that she had been looking at her phone before the Friday evening crash.

"These cars can't drive themselves, but it's too easy for consumers to think they can", says William Wallace, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports. If Tesla's safety record applied globally, the company said it would result in 900,000 fewer vehicle fatalities every year and that those driving Teslas equipped with autopilot hardware "are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident".

According to the WSJ article, Musk and other Tesla executives chose not to add eye-tracking technology to Autopilot "because of costs" as well as due to concerns that the technology may not be effective or may infuriate some drivers by its frequent beeping sound.

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At the same time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied the charges, stating that the eye was ultimately rejected because it was inefficient, not cost.

The driver of a Tesla Model S that last week slammed into a Unified Fire Authority vehicle stopped at an intersection said she had engaged the autopilot feature in the vehicle but was "looking at her phone prior to the collision", police reported Monday.

Tesla's Autopilot displays audio and visual warnings if it does not detect a driver's hands on the wheel, and it will shut the system off after too many warnings. "It is not a self-driving system", Musk said.

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According to the police, the Model S slammed into the firetruck at 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) and the driver suffered a broken right ankle.

"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in USA auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage".

Tesla said it had not yet received auto data and did not yet know the facts, including whether Autopilot was engaged. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting an investigation, but this doesn't look good for Tesla's Autopilot system.

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The NTSB is also investigating a Tesla Model S crash that left two people dead and another injured in Florida.

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