Autopilot Accident Death Sparks Tesla Investigation

Trevor English

tesla autopilot top[Image Source: Tesla Motors]

While Tesla autopilot has come under fire many times since its implementation into their vehicles, the company has always been able to avoid the blame in accidents. A new accident, however, which resulted in the death of the driver has caused U.S. auto safety regulators to investigate the safety of their vehicles. The investigation looks into a 2015 crash and is specifically meant to examine the Model S and whether it is safe to use on autopilot. While the Model S crossed a highway on autopilot, it struck a tractor trailer, killing the driver.

According to Gizmag, Tesla claims that a bright sky and a white trailer may have been the cause of the car not being able to recognize the danger. Even if autopilot is faulted for the accident, Tesla may be able to avoid regulation issues as the autopilot features are still in the Beta testing phase and state that the driver must keep their hands on the wheels at all times. The company has acknowledged the investigation, issuing a statement in a blog post.

"It is important to emphasize that the NHTSA action is simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations." ~ Tesla

tesla autopilot[Image Source: Tesla Motors]

Autopilot is by far the most advanced self-driving technology currently in public use, but this investigation may help indicate what the future of the industry holds, according to CNBC. Inevitably there will be accidents that occur at the hands of a computer driving system. People will want to hold someone accountable and holding automobile companies liable for personal injury will be a first on a broader scale beyond recalls. If anything, this investigation gives some indication that Tesla's autopilot technology is still a work in progress, which is why the company stresses that drivers need to stay alert and attentive.

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Elon Musk has expressed personal condolences to the loss of the driver in a Twitter post, and it is evident that the company as a whole feels bad about the accident's occurrence. Only time will tell what the investigation will yield for the future of Tesla's autopilot.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model X Crashes into Building – Definitely Driver Error

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