The Tesla Model S crash in Woodlands, Texas has been the focal point of mainstream media discussion regarding Autopilot as of late.
Even before the investigations by NHTSA started properly, online and traditional media outlets started to conclude that the vehicle was running on the highway without a driver in the driver’s seat.
Since there is no longer a PR department at Tesla, CEO Elon Musk replied to a WSJ article on Twitter, where a Tesla owner and enthusiast described that Autopilot cannot be kept engaged unless you have the seatbelt buckled up and touch the steering wheel every 10 seconds.
Another Tesla owner had displayed this functionality in a video we previously covered on this same topic.
According to Elon Musk, this specific Model S car owner did not purchase the Full Self-Driving (FSD) package from Tesla. This also implies that this wasn’t one of the ~2,000 FSD Beta testing cars in the United States.
“NHTSA is great,” Musk said in another tweet, demonstrating confidence in the investigations taking place by the US authority.
Now Consumer Reports released the following video where they were able to cheat the car in thinking that there is a person present in the driver’s seat.
The title of this video says “We Drove a Tesla with No One in the Driver’s Seat,” you can do that with a non-Tesla car that has cruise control on it, just put a brick on the gas pedal. It’s even easier with a gas car, you don’t have to bypass all these checks that Tesla has in place.
All these methods that Consumer Reports has demonstrated in this video are perfectly ‘illegal’ on a public road. Why would Tesla be the one to blame for a customer’s illegal acts?
Amidst all this chaos, TMZ reached out to vehicle teardown guru Sandy Munro for his take on the situation, “with Tesla’s Autopilot being 8 times safer than the average driver & only being on the market for a few years, it would be absolutely criminal to stop the progression & normalization of this technology in the market,” he said.
“With the rate of improvements in the software & its overall efficacy, the move to continue to evolve & use this technology is paramount in creating safer roads & driving experiences in general,” Munro further added.
Munro thinks, by trying to block the Tesla Autopilot or FSD technology is not in the interest of the safety of the general public as it marginally lessens the car crash probability.
Looks like Tesla is yet again under a new storm of fear uncertainty & doubt (FUD). Another challenging time for Elon Musk and his Tesla team to rise victoriously from this crisis as they have in the past.