“There was no one in the driver’s seat,” said Cynthia Umansor, a local police sergeant in Harris County, of the fatal 2019 Tesla Model S crash. Hit a bend in the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.
When the fire was put out, the authorities found the remains of two victims. According to the report, one of them was in the front passenger seat, and the other was in the back. Tesla and the US Road Safety Authority (NHTSA) have yet to respond to the accident.
A closer look
Accidents involving apparently “ runaway ” cars lead to a notoriety for Tesla’s semi-automatic driving system. The US Auto Safety Agency announced in March that it would review 27 Tesla vehicle accidents. And that is as the company prepares to launch a wider launch of the updated “fully autonomous” program.
Tesla boss Elon Musk expects huge profit margins and he’s definitely bemused. The CEO said in January that he was “confident that the car will be able to drive itself this year with more reliability than humans.” But before Tesla can finish its large-scale commercial rollout of the technology, the company will first need to address some pressing safety and regulatory issues.
Ten times fewer accidents
The carmaker’s latest safety report – which Musk shared on Twitter – is promising to say the least. It showed that the risk of an accident with a Tesla car on autopilot was ten times lower in the first quarter of 2021. This implies one accident for every 6.7 million km-drive.
The less automation, the worse things seem to get. For example, nearly twice as many accidents (1 in 3.3 million km) have been recorded with an autonomous drone, but with active safety functions such as an automatic parking brake. Without these safety features, the number doubles again (1 in 1.6 million kilometers).