Tesla Car Involved In Fatal Crash Was On Autopilot

 

Tesla To Build Wholly-Owned Shanghai Plant - Report
A Tesla logo is seen at a charging station inside a mall in Shanghai on October 23, 2017.  CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

Electric car maker Tesla has confirmed the autopilot was engaged during a fatal crash last week, a development set to exacerbate concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles.

A Tesla Model X collided with a highway barrier near the town of Mountain View in California on March 23, catching fire before it was struck by two other cars.

The driver, who was identified by The Mercury News as a 38-year-old man, Wei Huang, later died in hospital.

Tesla issued a blog post late Friday saying he had activated the autopilot but ignored several warnings.

“In the moments before the collision… autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum,” Tesla said.

“The driver had 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 the collision.

“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 show that no action was taken.”

Tesla added that the reason the car sustained such great damage was because a highway barrier “had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced”.

“We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash,” it added

The company also sought to downplay fears over its technology.

“Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the US government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40 percent,” it said.

The fatal Tesla crash came the same week a collision involving an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona killed a pedestrian and caused that company to halt its self-driving car program.

In January last year, the US Transportation Department closed an investigation into the fatal 2016 crash in Florida of a Tesla on autopilot, finding that no “safety-related defect” had caused that accident.

Founded 15 years ago by South African-born serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, Tesla has gained fans and acclaim as a company steering toward a world of self-driving cars running on clean energy.

But, Tesla’s future is clouded by worries about its ability to efficiently mass produce cars as well as whether disruptive technology used is reliable and safe.

AFP

Tesla To Build Wholly-Owned Shanghai Plant – Report

Tesla To Build Wholly-Owned Shanghai Plant - Report

Tesla has reached an agreement with Shanghai authorities that would make it the first foreign automaker to build its own plant in China, putting it in the driver’s seat in the world’s biggest electric-vehicle market, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Silicon Valley¬†electric carmaker’s wholly-owned manufacturing facility would be built in Shanghai’s free-trade zone, the Wall Street Journal said, quoting unnamed sources with knowledge of the deal, and could allow Tesla to dramatically lower the cost of its cars in China.

China usually requires foreign automakers to set up joint ventures with local Chinese partners, which involves splitting profits and giving away some technology, though they also avoid import tariffs.

AFP was not immediately able to obtain comment from Tesla or the Shanghai government.

China’s electric-vehicle market is already the world’s largest and is expected to continue growing fast, especially since the government plans to require that all automakers’ sales include a certain percentage of electric vehicles from 2019.

Beijing is also mulling plans to ban fossil-fuel burning cars by an unspecified date, following decisions by France and Britain to outlaw the sale of such vehicles from 2040 to limit emissions.

No timeframe for the launch of the Tesla plant was given.

Tesla had said in June that it was in talks with the Shanghai government and that it would detail its China manufacturing plans by the end of the year.

More than half a million “new-energy” cars were sold in China last year, and the government is targetting sales in the millions in coming years.

The Wall Street Journal said any cars built by Tesla in the free-trade zone would still incur a 25 percent import tariff.

AFP