Tesla chief, Elon Musk lashed out on Twitter recently after media reports about the latest crash involving one of the electric carmaker's vehicles. Musk said that the positive aspects of autonomous vehicles are overlooked and an unfair focus on mishaps is highlighted. Musk also pointed out that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the 40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year gets almost no coverage. A Tesla Model S with semi-autonomous Autopilot feature rear-ended a fire department truck at a red signal. The driver of the Model S was allegedly driving at a speed of 97kmph without braking before impact.
What’s actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60mph and the driver only broke an ankle. An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2018
Whether an Autopilot feature was engaged when a Model S collided with the rear of a stopped fire truck in the US state of Utah on May 11 remained to be confirmed. According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the car claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone.
Among accidents to make headlines was a fiery March 23 crash in California that involved its "Autopilot" feature. The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which led to the death of a 38-year-old father of two, Walter Huang.
Tesla has released several statements on the accident, including a March 30 blog post that expressed sorrow for the family but defended its technology and pointed responsibility for the crash on the driver.
Huang's hands were "not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision," Tesla said in the blog. While its cars have Autopilot capabilities, people in the driver seats are called on to be paying attention and ready to take control of steering wheels. The NTSB is also investigating a Tesla Model S crash that left two people dead and another injured in Florida.
The 2014 Tesla was reportedly traveling at high speed when it hit a wall then caught fire last week, the NTSB said in a release. Autopilot self-driving capabilities of the Tesla were not expected to be involved, the NTSB said. The NTSB had yet to announce whether they will be looking into the Utah crash.