One of the problems with making cars that include a self-driving feature is that some users may blame the technology when they have wrecks, even if they’re not using the feature at the time. This is a problem Tesla is dealing with first hand, though they have a secret weapon to combat it: a black box.
That self-monitoring feature came in handy this week when a Telsa Model X owner, Puzant Ozbag, made a post on the company’s forums claiming his car accelerated suddenly on its own, driving 39 feet through a garden and crashing into a building.
Our 5 day old Tesla X today while entering a parking stall suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated at high speed on its own climbing over 39 feet of planters and crashing into a building.
The airbags deployed and my wife’s arms have burn marks as a consequence.
This could have easily been a fatal accident if the car’s wheels were not turned slightly to the left. If they were straight, it would have gone over the planters and crashed into the store in front of the parking stall and injured or killed the patrons.
The acceleration was uncontrollable, seemed maximum and the car only stopped because it hit the building and caused massive damage to the building.
This is a major problem and Tesla should stop deliveries and investigate the cause of this serious accident.
It’s a serious accusation, and one that could cause problems for Tesla if their cars didn’t log every move the driver makes. In a statement to Electrek, Tesla explained the vehicle was under manual control at the time of the accident.
We analyzed the vehicle logs which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed. Safety is the top priority at Tesla and we engineer and build our cars with this foremost in mind. We are pleased that the driver is ok and ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles.
In short, Tesla is accusing the driver of not only being the one at fault in the accident, but also of lying by blaming the crash on the car’s AI. If Tesla’s logs are true that would explain why the car “suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated.” Cars have a tendency to do that when the pedal is pushed down.
Remember, Tesla drivers, the black box knows all. If you want to argue against human error you better make sure your foot wasn’t on the pedal.