On May 7, a Tesla driver died in a fatal car crash while on autopilot mode. Almost two months later, Tesla published an in-depth analysis into the traffic accident and why it occurred.
The American automotive and energy storage company’s blog post entitled “A Tragic Loss” explained that the car’s technology couldn’t differentiate the white side of a tractor—which was coming in on a divided highway—to the bright lit sky. Tesla’s Model S and its autopilot system received a number of criticisms from self-proclaimed technology experts and car drivers.
However, Tesla disclosed two key information in its detailed explanation to the accident: the driver also failed to recognize the white side of the tractor and the accident was the first fatal crash in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated.
According to the first part of the blog post, “neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer.” That means, if the driver was not on autopilot mode and was driving the Tesla Model S himself, the situation would have ended in the way same it ended on May 7.
The second piece of statistical information released by the Tesla team showed that over 130 million miles traveled by Autopilot, the tragic accident on May 7 was the first occurrence of its sort.
By dissecting the official statistics released by the National Highway and Traffic Safety administration, the death rate on the American highway is 1.08 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. When this piece of data is compared to Tesla Autopilot’s 1 fatality per 130 million miles, it is clear and evident that Tesla Autopilot is still safer than human drivers.
With any technology in its infancy, it is significantly important to observe its development and refine its limitations. It is important to consider that the Tesla Autopilot is a significant advancement in the history of human history.