Friday evening, in South Jordan, UT, a Tesla semi-autonomous sedan with an Autopilot feature rear-ended a a fire department mechanical vehicle. The Tesla was traveling at an estimated speed of 60mph. Witnesses say the car did not slow down or break before impact. It is unknown if the Autopilot feature was engaged at the time if the crash.
The vehicle’s air bags were activated and the driver was treated for a broken ankle. The driver of the Fire Department mechanical truck was not injured.
Owner of Tesla, Elan Musk fired back at journalists for what he calls “irresponsible reporting” in their coverage of the dangers of autonomous vehicles and two recent fatal car crashes. In a conference call last week Musk said:
People might actually turn it off and then die.
The Autopilot system uses various tools such as, cameras, computers for speed control, and radar to stop the vehicle and change lanes, Still, regardless of the technology, the company warns that drivers should always remain alert with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 13, 2018
Reactions to the Autopilot are mixed.
Commercial and Private aircraft fly and can even land/takeoff under computer control. This is occurring 24/7. Automobile control is still in its infancy, perhaps on the road to early(?). Nonetheless, this is the future.
— Jeffrey Hale (@JeffreyHale49) May 13, 2018
Still fewer accidents than driver cars.
— Kent Loehrke (@KentLoehrke) May 13, 2018
Others are not ready to make the leap.
There is no way in he'll I would ever get into any vehicle in which the driver was not a real person.
— Mike (@Flyersrule63) May 13, 2018
@NTSB when does this end
— PittPanther15 (@Brettery) May 12, 2018
Sove folks had their own theories as to what happened.
I'm guessing there was no common sense involved either.
Autopilot (particularly in early stages) doesn't override a driver paying attention to his surroundings
— DevB (@SkydiveD) May 12, 2018
Somebody was texting and driving, my guess. Check the phone account …
— Jedi Night (@_Jedi_Night) May 12, 2018
Even with Autopilot the driver needs to pay attention. It’s a beta driver assist and not remotely fully self driving. Still safer with AP than without.
— JonP (@JPUConn) May 12, 2018