Is Tesla Involved in a Cover-Up over the Model X Crash?
Montana driver who crashed his Model X is accusing Tesla of not getting his side of the storyby Kirby Garlitos, on
The driver of the Tesla Model X that crashed in Montana while its Autopilot system was engaged has now published an open letter, accusing Tesla of covering up the problems that have plagued the Autopilot system.
According to Electrek, the driver identifies himself as Mr. Pang and claims that he was never able to explain himself to Tesla before the automaker issued its own conclusion that Pang was to blame for the accident that saw the Model X crash into 12 barrier posts after plowing through a safety barrier post. The driver added some pretty harsh words for the company, saying that Tesla was trying to “cover up the lack of dependability of the autopilot system.”
For its part, Tesla has maintained that the accident was all Pang’s fault because data logs showed that the driver’s hands were not on the steering wheel even after multiple warnings. The automaker added Pang was in violation of the terms of agreement between the driver and the automaker on the proper use of the Autopilot system. Apparently, Tesla is requiring everybody who uses the Autopilot system to have at least a small amount of force on the steering wheel so that the system can detect the presence of a driver sitting behind the wheel. Tesla argued that Pang not only had his attention elsewhere when the car’s autopilot system was engaged, but more importantly, his hands were not on the wheel, hence the slow reaction time when the car ended up crashing into the barriers.
While Pang admitted that his hands were not on the wheel, he’s still convinced that the Model X’s Autopilot system crashed by itself, adding fire to the increasing number of cases of Tesla vehicles crashing because of their autonomous driving technology. It’s unclear how this issue will be resolved, but from the look of things, Pang is hoping to to get Tesla on the table to discuss the supposed issues plaguing the company’s Autopilot system. The automaker has yet to issue a new statement addressing Pang’s allegations, but given the serious nature of the driver’s accusations, don’t be surprised to hear Tesla release a new statement addressing the allegations.
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Why it Matters
There’s a lot to peel through here, but the most important part of this new development is that Tesla has to address these accusations, if only to make sure that its name isn’t getting tarnished. It’s hard enough to convince people to give autonomous driving technology a shot, it’s going to be even more difficult if these allegations continue to remain unanswered apart from a simple statement refuting those claims.
Tesla has to explain itself further, even if it has a mountain of data to present showing driving error and negligence are the main culprits of all of these accidents. It’s not right that Tesla is being accused of using car owners as “lab rats” without addressing it. That’s a very serious issue that I hope the company addresses.
That said, none of Pang’s accusations excuse him from being careless with his Model X. He himself admitted that his hands were not on the steering wheel of his car and his argument through all of this was that the warning system Tesla put in place should have given him ample time to make the necessary corrections. That’s the issue with his argument. He would’ve had a stronger case if his hands were on the steering wheel and that the Autopilot system failed. Two wrongs don’t make anything right and that’s the problem with Pang’s argument. He’s basically saying that he was waiting for the alert to put his hands on the steering wheel when it should have been there in the first place.
At the end of the day, I hope that Tesla makes more of an effort to address these issues beyond just making statements. Even if it thinks that the driver’s are at fault, it’s still the company’s name that’s making the headlines for the wrong reasons.