Elon Musk Says Tesla Autopilot Reduces Risk Of Crash Days Before Two Killed In Fatal Accident
Two days before a fatal car crash in which nobody was behind the wheel, Elon Musk claimed Tesla’s autopilot system reduces the risk of accidents tenfold.
Two men, 59 and 69, were in a 2019 Model S on Saturday, April 17, when the vehicle reportedly failed to anticipate the curve of the road, smashed into a tree and burst into flames.
One person was found in the front passenger seat, while the other was sitting in the back. It’s believed the men had wanted to try Tesla’s self-driving system.
Sharing the electric car company’s latest safety report just two days ago, Musk wrote: ‘Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.’
The report itself notes how the ‘Model S, Model X and Model 3 have achieved the lowest overall probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the US government’s New Car Assessment Program’ and boasts how the ‘state-of-the-art design of our battery packs’ should avert danger in the ‘extremely unlikely event of a fire’.
The CEO also responded to someone praising the features on Twitter, saying how passive Autopilot ‘comes standard in all Teslas’ – essentially, the car is keeping an eye on the road even if you’re in manual control. ‘If it knows how to stay in the lane itself, it can detect when you’re drifting out on manual driving,’ as the user put it.
More than one billion cars in Tesla’s global fleet have also been tested with Autopilot engaged, ‘to understand the different ways accidents happen’.
The crash took place in Spring, Texas, with Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman telling KPRC 2 initial investigations showed ‘no-one was driving’ the car, which was going at a ‘high rate of speed’. However, the cause of deaths and circumstances around the accident are still to be confirmed.
Herman also told The New York Times: ‘It took four hours to put out a fire that normally would have taken a matter of minutes,’ with 32,000 gallons of water used to battle the flames as the car’s batteries kept reigniting. Meanwhile, according to a brother-in-law of one of the victims, relatives watched on as the vehicle burned.
Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had opened 27 investigations of Tesla vehicles, 23 of which are still said to be active.
In February, during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Musk said: ‘I think Autopilot’s getting good enough that you won’t need to drive most of the time unless you really want to.’
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