One of the Model S vehicles from Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was recently involved in a fatal accident in Florida. Investigators claim that the vehicle was violating the speed limit while on Autopilot.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report revealing that the Model S was traveling at 74 mph in a section whose speed limit was 65 mph in Williston, Florida. The driver was known as John Brown and he owns a tech firm in Ohio. The report stated that he had activated the cruise control features at the time of the incident in which it crashed into a truck. There is speculation that the Autopilot feature failed to respond in time, thus resulting in the fatal accident.
The findings reported by NTSB are similar to reports made by the Police and the investigations are still ongoing. The incident adds fuel to the criticism that is already ongoing about Tesla’s Autopilot causing accidents. The system is already under two federal investigations and some critics believe that the system creates a false sense of security to the drivers. Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that the Autopilot in the vehicle might not have responded accurately because it could not clearly detect the trailer behind the bright sky. Musk further added that the radar in the system usually overlooks objects that look like overhead road signs so that it can avoid engaging the brakes unnecessarily.
The electric vehicle manufacturing company has also warned drivers to still be attentive on the road because the Autopilot feature is still in a public beta and has not been perfected. The system is not fully autonomous and still relies on the human element. There has been a campaign launched by Consumer reports urging Tesla to stop calling the system “Autopilot” because it is misleading to drivers. The campaign also wants the company to disable the automatic steering until the system is more enhanced. Tesla has however turned down the request turn off auto steering.
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