2020 Tesla Prototype

Tesla Accidents Demostrate Dangers of Autopilot without Human Attention

The accident report could not come at a worse time for Tesla. Any auto fatality brings bad publicity, but Tesla’s recent struggles with a falling stock price and delays on 2019 deliveries mean the automaker may be facing a reckoning. In March of 2019 alone, two fatalities involving Tesla occurred in Florida. This comes just almost a year after a  pedestrian fatality in Tempe, Arizona that was caused by an inattentive driver and a failed autopilot. So far there have been 7 reported fatalities linked to Tesla’s autopilot or batteries.

On March 1, 2019, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into the side of a tractor-trailer in Florida, killing the driver.

But while Jeremy Beren Banner may have been behind the wheel of the Tesla, he wasn’t wholly in control of it. Based on a newly released preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), he had Autopilot engaged at the time of the crash.

This marks at least the fourth time a Tesla driver has died with the car’s autonomous features enabled — adding to the mounting concerns about the system’s safety.

NHTSA is also probing the January 2018 crash of a Tesla vehicle apparently traveling in Autopilot that struck a fire truck in Culver City, California, a May 2018 crash in Utah of a Tesla in Autopilot mode and a May 2018 Tesla accident in Florida that killed two teenagers and injured another but was not in Autopilot.

An article found at futurism.com related this comment from Tesla:

“We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement before noting that “our data shows that, when used properly by an attentive driver who is prepared to take control at all times, drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those operating without assistance.”

It’s not just the autopilot systems that are causing problems for Tesla. The batteries in their cars have had problems with catching fire and even reigniting after being put out. People have suffered horrible burning deaths as a result.

Tesla is entering a “Code Red” situation on Wall Street, according to an analyst quoted in a Fortune.com story. The shares have dropped in nine of the last 10 trading days, a stretch that started the day Tesla closed offerings of new stock and convertible bonds to shore up its balance sheet. In that span, Tesla has plunged more than 20% and fallen back behind Ford Motor Co. by market capitalization.

read more at futurism.com