Autopilot is a system installed in some Tesla models that is said to be the safety system of the future by some. Essentially, it does what it says — operates the vehicle safely without the assistance of the driver. It can take over in situations where a driver can’t or didn’t take action that benefits their safety behind the wheel.
While this system has been praised for its groundbreaking innovations, a recent accident shows that it may not be without its flaws. An owner of a Tesla Model S vehicle equipped with Autopilot died after the system allegedly malfunctioned. According to statements by the government and Tesla, the accident occurred when the car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate the brakes.
There has also been speculation that the driver of the Tesla was practicing unsafe behavior at the time of the crash. A full investigation into the man’s tragic death is necessary in this case. This will help tell the world who is to blame. Guaranteed, a system that cannot distinguish a tractor-trailer from the sky, will likely take some, if not all, of the blame in this case.
Many auto-makers have been accused of products liability at some point in their history. However, the auto-feature of the Tesla is the first of its kind and in the case of this man’s death, a possible lawsuit may set a precedent for this type of situation. While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, compensation can help the surviving members of a family move on in what is hopefully a more comfortable way.
Source: cnsnews.com, “Tesla driver’s death on ‘Autopilot’ triggers probe, dilemma,” Joan Lowy and John Seewer, July 2, 2016