Self-driving technology has become the center of attention in the past few weeks.
Following Uber’s accident that involved the death of a pedestrian, a Tesla Model X with Autopilot activated was involved in a fatal crash. Tesla has shared details on the accident after the American automaker was able to recover the logs from the computer inside the vehicle. According to Tesla, the collision occurred at 9:27 AM on Friday, March 23, and Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum.
The company says the driver received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive, and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to impact. The data also showed the driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs showed no action was taken.
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The crash itself resulted in the Model X catching on fire and burning, and Tesla says it has never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash. It notes that the crash was so severe because the crash attenuator had been crushed in a prior accident and hadn’t been replaced.
This latest accident will likely raise more questions and concerns surrounding autonomous technology, and whether it is ready and safe to be used on public roadways. Tesla reiterated that driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot means you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
“No one knows about the accidents that didn’t happen, only the ones that did. The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe. There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide,” said Tesla in a blog post. “If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year. We expect the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.”
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