Monday, September 19, 2016

Another driver dies in another Tesla crash and MobilEye abandons Tesla.

Tesla is already under investigation for the death of Joshua Brown when his Model S slammed under the back of a truck and killed him whilst driving on autopilot. It turns out this isn't an isolated incident. In a remarkably similar crash in China in January, another driver was killed when his autopilot also didn't see a truck, and similar drove under the back of it at full speed. In the Chinese crash, a dashcam was recovered that shows the vehicle making no attempt to avoid the parked truck.
On top of these two autopilot deaths, a third driver has now died in his model S because of a severe electrical fire. In this latest case, the Dutch driver died when his Tesla crashed into a tree at 155kmh, in an accident so vicious that it split the battery in two and sparked the electrical fire. It seems autopilot wasn't responsible for this crash but it does call into question the integrity of the battery tub again (already investigated once due to a severe fire from road debris a couple of years ago).
Dutch first responders are extremely well-versed in dealing with electric cars - they're some of the best-trained first responders for these sorts of accidents. So when they tell you that the nature and severity of the wreckage was so bad that they could not be certain whether the car might be under high voltage, you ought to listen to them.
At the time, the driver was doing a reported 155kmh which would be a bad crash whichever way you look at it, in any car, but it ought to have been survivable.

With two confirmed deaths, it's not surprising then that the Israeli company that provides Tesla with part of the Autopilot system has broken ties with them. MobilEye don't want to be associated with a vehicle manufacturer that is killing it's driver with a flawed system. Ammon Shashua, chief technical officer for MobilEye said "No matter how you spin it, Autopilot is not designed for that. It is a driver assistance system and not a driverless system."
MobilEye abandons Tesla
Tesla autopilot caused second driver death?
Dashcam shows Chinese Tesla crash