Tesla is under fire after one of their S models was used in self-driving mode and then resulted in a fatal crash. Engineers appeared before a Senate committee that was probing the fatal crash.
Mercury News reported that the Tesla engineers who appeared before the committee had two main theories as to why the vehicle crashed. One of the theories proposed by the Tesla engineers was that the car’s cameras and radar failed to spot the tractor trailer. The other theory was that the cameras didn’t see the tractor trailer, and the car’s computer got a false radar signal.
Tesla officials met with a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee in a closed meeting. The meeting with the senate was held after Joshua Brown, of Canton, Ohio, was killed in his Tesla Model S after it was hit by a tractor trailer. At the time of the crash, the automatic system was engaged.
— Engadget (@engadget) August 1, 2016
The UPI reported that Tesla was considering the possibility that the cause of the crash wasn’t the autopilot system at all, but the crash prevention system that failed. Tesla officials told the Senate Committee that the vehicle’s automatic braking system may have determined that the tractor trailer was about to hit the Tesla S Model, but didn’t act on it.
The autopilot systems in Tesla vehicles combine steering, cruise control, and other technology to help them avoid accidents. The accident Brown was involved in took place in Florida, and he was speeding at the time of the crash. The system failed to alert him and help him stop to avoid the crash.
— Inc. (@Inc) August 1, 2016
Design Trend reported that in spite of the controversy involving the autopilot feature, Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased about building a Model X-Inspired Minibus. The company also blamed the crash that killed Joshua Brown on the autopilot system that controlled the brakes. Musk took to Twitter to share the details of Tesla’s upcoming minibus. Jalopnik‘s Jason Torchinsky wrote a report on the proposed minibus, and Elon Musk responded to the speculation.
In Torchinsky’s report, he made a good deduction on the Elon Musk’s inspiration for the proposed Tesla Minibus. Tesla has made it clear they will release the bus, but no release date has been given. Tesla is also planning to create a Gigafactory, but it will not be used to manufacture their new battery technology. Elon Musk said it would be a product in itself.
“We consider [the factory] to be a product. The factory itself is the machine that builds the machine. It actually deserves more attention from creative problem solving engineers than the product that it makes.”
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 1, 2016
The Telegraph UK reported that the fatal Tesla crash occurred because the driver was speeding. The official report said that the Tesla Model S crashed when it ploughed into the tractor trailer while using the autopilot system. The accident involving Brown, a former Navy SEAL, was the first accident reported involving a self driving car. Self-driving cars include safety features that are designed to prevent crashes whenever the driver’s concentration slips.
The Tesla autopilot systems includes a wide variety of devices including cameras, radars and sensors that are devised to prevent crashes. The National Transportation and Safety Board examined the system performance data provided by Tesla and determined that Brown was using the traffic aware cruise control system. The technology is designed to maintain a safe distance between cars while preventing the vehicle from drifting.
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