Tesla’s first fatal accident occurred in 2016. accident occurred after a US citizen put his Model S into Tesla Autopilot mode. The car’s sensors failed to detect an approaching 18-wheeler, leading to an accident that killed the driver.
At the time, the company said: “Autopilot is improving all the time, but it’s not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert.” Experts have since raised questions about the safety of automated driving systems and called for tougher laws, as Tesla faces a lawsuit. This has been particularly aimed at Tesla, as the company tests and trains its vehicles on public roads.
With Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, memories of Tesla have also sparked a conversation about whether he has too much on his plate.
Tesla accidents and the consequences
Although the 2016 incident was the first, not much has changed in recent years. In June 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data showing that Tesla crashes accounted for nearly 70% of accidents involving advanced driver assistance systems.
In recent times, federal officials have closely monitored Tesla cars, conducting investigations and issuing public warnings about their autopilot features.
According to recently released government data on vehicles using automated driving systems, 11 people were killed in accidents involving automated driver assistance systems in the US over a four-month period in early 2022. The NHTSA noted that Tesla it has more than 830,000 vehicles on the road. with these systems.
Tesla’s Autopilot system has been under investigation by the NHTSA since 2018, after a series of accidents in which Tesla struck parked emergency vehicles along highways. The National Transportation Safety Board, which conducted its own investigation into the accidents, recommended that Tesla and the NHTSA limit the use of autopilot systems to areas where it can be operated safely.
On November 13, 2022, the electric car company grabbed headlines after it promised to help Chinese officials investigate a fatal Tesla accident involving Model Y cars. Local media reports indicated that there were around five victims. A family member of the driver reportedly mentioned that the 55-year-old had problems with the car’s brake pedals.
In the past, Tesla has been accused of faulty brake systems in China. How much access Tesla will allow to Beijing remains to be seen, as the US works to strangle China’s technological advance. In October, the current administration imposed strict sanctions that prohibited the sale of advanced chips and chip-making equipment. US sanctions on technology imports were applied first to Nvidia and AMD.
The US sanctions on China come after nearly a year of Beijing’s crackdown on tech companies as it sought greater access to sensitive data and daily operations in the country. The US government had previously warned returnees from the 2022 Beijing Olympics to beware of cybersecurity incidents. Only time will tell how Beijing will use this position to investigate the incident. Also, it doesn’t bode well for Tesla, as its accident history could work against it.
Tesla recalls more than 40,000 vehicles in the US
The electric car maker has issued a voluntary recall of more than 40,000 Model S and Model X variant cars due to a software defect. Tesla’s recall has been attributed to a defect that can cut off or reduce power steering assistance when the car mistakes bumps and potholes for steering assist torque.
While the company has now released a software update to fix the bug, as Tesla recalls, auto experts have raised questions about the safety features of the vehicles. The company said that so far the error has not been the cause of any accident or death.
This isn’t Tesla’s first recall of 2022. The company has issued 17 recall notices covering about 3.4 million vehicles this year. In September, Tesla recalls were issued because the windows could close too quickly and injure people.
As Tesla recalls the cars, critics of the company have criticized the company for being lax about the safety of electric vehicles.
The latest report from the automaker revealed that, as of November 14, 2022, there have been 320 Tesla car-related fatalities and Tesla Autopilot fatalities are 15.
The company previously issued a statement that said: “We collect the number of miles traveled by each vehicle with Autopilot active or in manual driving, based on available data we receive from the fleet, and we do so without identifying specific vehicles to protect privacy. We also receive a crash alert every time the fleet reports a crash, which can include information about whether the autopilot was active at the time of impact. To make sure our statistics are conservative, we counted any crash in which the autopilot disengaged within 5 seconds of impact, and we counted all crashes in which the incident alert indicated that an airbag was deployed or another active constraint. (Our crash statistics are not based on sample data sets or estimates.) In practice, this correlates with almost any crash at about 12 mph (20 kph) or higher, depending on the crash forces generated. On the other hand, accidents reported by police from government databases are underreported, by some estimates by up to 50%, largely because most minor accidents (such as “car crashes”) are underreported. fender”) are not investigated. We also do not differentiate according to the type of accident or failure. (For example, more than 35% of all Autopilot accidents occur when the Tesla vehicle is rear-ended by another vehicle.) In this way, we are sure that the statistics we share clearly show the benefits of autopilot.”
Tesla has continued to maintain that its autopilot systems, which require human supervision, are designed to improve road safety. In autopilot systems, the NHTSA admits the technology shows great promise, but how it works in real-life situations needs to be evaluated.
Musk’s takeover and depletion on Twitter
The dismal performance of the automaker caught the attention of investors and had a detrimental effect on Tesla shares. They are also concerned that after the Twitter acquisition, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is less focused on his other companies. On November 14, 2022, Tesla stock was hovering around $195, down from its June 2021 performance.
When asked how the Twitter acquisition affected his work life, Musk admitted that he has been working seven days a week, from morning to night. In a video link to a business conference, he confessed, “I have too much work on my plate, that’s for sure,” something investors and analysts have suspected for a while.
After acquiring Twitter for $44 billion, Musk has focused on shaping the social media company around his vision, though he hasn’t given many details, laying off more than 50% of staff and trying to change the way the company operates. business. Twitter has faced a tumultuous time as Musk fired key executives and tried to get users to pay an $8 monthly fee for the blue tick.
Opening the blue check mark to anyone willing to pay a fee has tainted Musk’s inauguration, as the platform witnessed a rise in misinformation from netizens who paid the fee and used the mark for their benefit. The copycats targeted everyone from prominent politicians to established businesses. In a passing reference to all the criticism he received after this debacle, Musk said there is no way to make everyone on the platform happy. Perhaps the strongest criticism came from Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who called out Musk for his nonchalant attitude.
Take responsibility or face the music, US senator warns
The war of words began on November 12 after Musk took to Twitter to mock the senator’s concerns about misusing the new $7.99 per month Twitter Blue with verification subscription. Markey asked on Twitter for an explanation of what happened and how the company will prevent it from happening again.
Instead of offering solutions, Musk chose to mock the senator’s account saying it “sounds like a parody” and also asked why he is wearing a mask in his profile picture.
Senator Ed Markey didn’t take too well Musk’s attempt at humor, drawing attention to Tesla accidents and recalls. “One of his companies is under an FTC consent decree. The auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you are spending your time looking for fights online,” the senator wrote. “Fix your businesses. Or Congress will.”
While the senator’s concerns are not unfounded, they come on the heels of a lean period for Tesla. Despite the strong sales, Tesla shares have fallen as investors worry that Musk is obsessed with Twitter, to the point of neglecting his other companies, especially Tesla.