Musk: Tesla won't disable Autopilot despite investigation

Tesla and its Autopilot system are facing some controversy following three crashes in which Autopilot may have played a role. However, Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, continues to defend the technology and will not disable the system in cars so equipped.

Musk said that Autopilot will not be removed from Model S and Model X cars, the Wall Street Journal reports. Musk argues that Autopilot will save lives overall, and that the program itself is still officially in beta with plenty of clear disclaimers explaining such. Instead of removing Autopilot, Musk said Tesla will take steps to better educate owners on how to use the program and what its limitations are.

Tesla has made a point of noting that this is the first fatality in 130 million miles of Autopilot use. For comparison, the US Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System listed the number says the average US figure for all cars is 1.08 per 100 million miles as of 2014, which was the latest year of data available.

One of the three crashes at the center of the Autopilot controversy took place in Florida when Joshua Brown's Model S crashed into a semi truck. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the crash and, according to their findings it's likely the program did not see the white semi truck against a bright sky. That comports with Tesla's own account of the accident.

The other two crashes were not lethal, and in both incidents the drivers claim Autopilot was engaged. One incident in Montana involved a driver whose Model X crashed, and Tesla's records seem to show that the automatic steering functions were in use. However, the records also indicate the driver's hands were not on the wheel, and which is a violation of the program's terms and conditions. The other Tesla crash involved a different Model X in Pennsylvania, but neither Tesla nor the NHTSA have any data confirming whether Autopilot was active.

It remains to be seen if the results of the NHTSA's investigations take the matter out of Musk's hands. We'll be closely watching for more information on the investigation, but for now Autopilot will remain active in Tesla's cars.

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Tesla Autopilot Involved In Fatal Crash | Autoblog Minute

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