On March 23, a man who was driving a Tesla Model-X sport utility vehicle was killed in California. The semiautonomous Autopilot feature was on during the crash.
This accident raises more questions about the safety of self-driving technology.
This is not the first fatal accident involving a Tesla in Autopilot mode. In 2016, an Ohio man was killed in an accident involving a Tesla Model S sedan. An investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the accident was caused by a lack of safeguards in place – not due to a system flaw.
In the recent crash, data from the vehicle revealed that the driver had “about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view” before the crash occurred. Additionally, the system showed that the driver had taken no action before the crash, after given multiple audio and visual warnings by the system.
In another recent accident, a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona. Experts say the safety features should have prevented the accident.
Doubts about the company have sent Tesla stocks tumbling, and analysts are doubtful that the company can meet its goals.
These unfortunate accidents reinforce the fact that self-driving technology is still in its infancy. Despite all of the safety testing that has been done – despite all of the precautions taken – accidents are still happening.