Is Tesla's Model S in big trouble after a recent fatal crash in Florida?
Tesla Motors has come to the conclusion that it was not its autopilot technology that was at fault in a fatal crash, but rather its crash-prevention system failed to work properly, according to a New York Times report, which indicated that the company had been speaking to Senate investigators. Tesla told Senate staff this past week that the problem was with the automatic braking system on the car.
It’s the latest development in what has been a nightmarish situation for Tesla, as it tries to defend its autopilot from critics who say the feature should be disabled. It is interesting the company is blaming the braking system, apparently trying to avoid the autopilot getting blame — even though the braking is automatic and linked to the autopilot. The Times quoted an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, an auto research firm, as saying that all of those systems are supposed to work together to prevent an accident, and automatic braking is part of that, as “either the car didn’t know it had to stop, or it did know and wasn’t able to stop,” the analyst said.
But apparently Tesla considers the braking systems separate and distinct from the autopilot, which controls the steering on the car as well as its travel speed and its ability to change lanes. Tesla appears to avoid linking the braking to the autopilot due to calls from critics to disable the feature, something founder Elon Musk and others in the company have resisted because they feel like it is actually lifesaving technology.
The crash, which killed 40-year-old Joshua Brown, happened in Florida when a Tesla Model S failed to stop for a tractor-trailer that was turning left in front of the car, hitting the trailer and traveling under it before veering of fthe road and striking a power pole.
Tesla previously said that the camera systems and radar on the car may have failed to detect the white truck against a bright sky, and that may have explained why the brakes failed to activate. However, the company is now blaming the brakes.