NTSB: Tesla's Autopilot steered Model X into highway median, causing fatal crash | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

Town Square

Post a New Topic

NTSB: Tesla's Autopilot steered Model X into highway median, causing fatal crash

Original post made on Feb 25, 2020

An Apple employee died from a high-speed crash because his Tesla Model X's Autopilot driving system steered the car into a highway median on U.S. Highway 101 in 2018, federal officials concluded Tuesday, following a two-year inquiry.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 6:15 PM

Comments (19)

19 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 25, 2020 at 10:11 pm

Tesla Autopilot is a danger to Tesla drivers and to all other road users. Tesla should be forced to disable it until they can prove that they are properly training their drivers to use it safely.


28 people like this
Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:37 am

Playing a video game on your smart phone while tooling down the freeway at 70 mph is an appointment with Darwin, I don't care how automated your vehicle is.


28 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 7:24 am

This driver was everything all Tesla drivers are being criticized for.

He knew the car had problems at this area and yet he still ignored all the warnings and arrogantly played a game on his phone. It is very lucky that nobody else was killed due to his irresponsibility.

Darwin Award indeed.


21 people like this
Posted by I Despise Teslas
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 26, 2020 at 7:58 am

TESLA is now due for a MAJOR lawsuit! *yay*

I detest Tesla's & the arrogant people who tend to drive/own them...arrogant as in detached from the reality of other cars, pedestrians & bcyclists while going about their clueless, oblivious ways.

I also detest the braggarts who rave about making a 'killing' on Tesla stock...may their dividends & stock values plummet!

If you want autopilot features, drive a WAYMO...those things are so slow & overcautious that walking or taking the bus is often a faster alternative.

In closing, may all Tesla's someday disappear off the face of the Earth.


19 people like this
Posted by I LOVE Tesla’s
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 26, 2020 at 9:19 am

As a owner of a Tesla, I love the car for all the technology it has and it’s just a fun car to drive. That being said, I would be a Village Idiot to play a video while on assisted driver.


5 people like this
Posted by Harry Merkin
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:39 am

>> He knew the car had problems at this area and yet he still ignored all the warnings and arrogantly played a game on his phone.

That is strange. Have other Tesla drivers had problems at this area? If not, there is more to this story than has been discussed.


7 people like this
Posted by mrlatham
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:51 am

Once again the media plays the stupid game: the headline here says the car was at fault, as others have said maybe playing a video game at 70 mph especially when you have children caused most of the problem.
I hope sad as it is that they dont get a penny from their lawsuit. Stupid is as stupid does.....


4 people like this
Posted by Tesla's Are Not Race Proven & BORING
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Unlike MB, Porsche, BMW, Honda etc. Tesla's have NEVER proven their prowess on a race track...they are designed for people who merely want to OPERATE a car while going from point A to point B.

How boring...no wonder playing video games is an outlet while on Tesla's 'autopilot'.


9 people like this
Posted by Teslas
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 1:15 pm

Fasted on the street though. Mind numbing acceleration is never boring.
Do you decide on the car to buy based on race wins? That sounds...so smart! LOL.


5 people like this
Posted by I Despise Teslas
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 26, 2020 at 3:10 pm

quotes:

"Unlike MB, Porsche, BMW, Honda etc. Tesla's have NEVER proven their prowess on a race track...they are designed for people who merely want to OPERATE a car while going from point A to point B."

VS

"Fasted on the street though. Mind numbing acceleration is never boring."

VS

"maybe playing a video game at 70 mph especially when you have children caused most of the problem."

VS

"This driver was everything all Tesla drivers are being criticized for."

Lastly, the voice of reason...

"Tesla Autopilot is a danger to Tesla drivers and to all other road users. Tesla should be forced to disable it until they can prove that they are properly training their drivers to use it safely."

WHY? Because most Tesla drivers are techie types with no sports or race car acumen.

Being an electric car & given the typical Tesla driver who seemingly enjoys going fast without actually driving while on 'autopilot'...Teslas should be relegated to slot cars with tracks in the road guiding them to their eventual destinations!


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Elon Musk/Tesla made electric cars cool and fun. My hat is off to Elon Musk about that. But, I wish Musk would shut up about "autopilot". There is no such thing for cars yet, and, no telling if there ever will be, or, when it will arrive if it does. People can crash using a cruise control also, but, nobody claims it is an "autopilot". But, just by naming it "Autopilot", Musk is misleading people about what it actually can do.

Web Link

Tesla website says things like: "Features - Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane. Full Self-Driving Capability introduces additional features and improves existing functionality to make your car more capable over time including"

Needless to say, "Full Self-Driving Capability" doesn't actually mean what you would expect, as the family of Walter Huang discovered. The car automates the normal stuff, lulling the driver into complacency. Suddenly, the driver has to detect a problem and perform well in a demanding situation. The aviation industry discovered the hazard in this quite some time ago. The feature needs to be renamed and drivers need to understand that they still need to drive the car.


6 people like this
Posted by Never Tesla
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 26, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Tesla has taken the Facebook creed "Move Fast and Break Things," and implemented it in hardware


13 people like this
Posted by Tesla Owner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm

It's sad how people who clearly just hate Tesla for god-knows-what reason but know nothing about the technology are willing to make ridiculously extreme comments. Same to those people who say cruel things about the person who died.

I had the same issue happen to me at the same place 3 weeks before the fatal crash. However, I was paying attention and was able to steer away from the barrier but it was scary. After the crash, I tried to recreate the problem (at a slow speed) and was able to do so. I believe it happened due to the left stripe of the lane being very dirty and the right stripe of the lane that peels off to 85 S. being freshly painted. The car followed the clean lane marking, believing it to be the left stripe of its lane, thus heading into the barrier. Tesla has since fixed the problem.

I have mixed feelings on the issue. Tesla should not have called the feature "autopilot". However, the gentleman was not following instructions either. I have found the autopilot (after the fix to the issue) to be very relaxing to use on longer drives on the freeway although its not at all trustworthy on local roads (yet). There's a Rand Corp. study that shows that early deployment of such technologies and the learnings that derive from it, results in a much lower rate of accidents and deaths over a period of time. However, I'm not sure I want to be the Guinea pig in that experiment.

Overall, I love driving the car with or without autopilot. On long drives and in stop and go traffic, the autopilot is a god-send..


3 people like this
Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

Clearly with self-driving cars, no matter the make, you can't just sit back in your seat and play a video game as if you were a passenger on a train, bus or airplane where someone else controls the vehicle. In a self-driving car, YOU are in control. Hands on the wheel. Eyes on the road.


10 people like this
Posted by I Despise Teslas
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2020 at 8:15 am

My elder mother-in-law in Hillsborough has a very safe & efficient 'auto-pilot' feature on her early 1960s vintage-era Lincoln...it's called a chauffeur!


9 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm

It's amazing that Tesla haters lump all Tesla owners together because of one knucklehead driver who played video games on his phone while the auto driving system was engaged caused a fatal accident. I drive a Tesla and would never dream of playing games on my phone, looking at the phone screen, taking my eyes off the road or even letting go of the steering wheel while the autopilot was engaged. I know many Tesla drivers and none of them would behave like that driver, who should really be in prison.

Tesla is a fantastic car, and reckless and clueless drivers drive all type of cars, high end, low end and anywhere in between, including Teslas.


9 people like this
Posted by I Despise Teslas
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2020 at 4:03 pm

>>> It's amazing that Tesla haters lump all Tesla owners together because of one knucklehead driver...

^ It's not any different than the bad rap BMW drivers got beginning in the 1980s & most it was true. During the late 1960s to mid 1970s BMWs were cool esoteric sport sedans & then the clueless yuppies started buying them & weaving in & out, cutting other drivers off.

The contemporary Tesla driver is just another incarnation of moneyed drivers who in most cases, don't know how to drive or respect the rights of other drivers.

As aforementioned, my mother-in-law is 'pre-Tesla' when it comes to auto-pilot. Her old Lincoln is the same model Kennedy was riding in Dalla & it gets far more attention & curiosity than a mundane-looking Tesla.


3 people like this
Posted by I Despise Teslas
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2020 at 4:04 pm

Dalla > as in Dallas - November 22, 1963


7 people like this
Posted by Never Tesla
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm

>> I believe it happened due to the left stripe of the lane being very dirty and the right stripe of the lane that peels off to 85 S. being freshly painted. The car followed the clean lane marking, believing it to be the left stripe of its lane, thus heading into the barrier. Tesla has since fixed the problem.

Tesla should have caught that deadly feature during development testing, or during acceptance testing at the latest. Using its paying customers as beta (or gamma) testers is inexcusable.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Fresh from the water: Popular local fishing boat starts selling seafood at Port of Redwood City
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 6,246 views

Constantly coping with the virus: We need a total lockdown now
By Diana Diamond | 45 comments | 3,596 views

Did a hedge fund just steal your EV rebate?
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 2,129 views

Easing Back to School Anxiety
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 788 views

I’ve Been Diagnosed with Essential Tremor (ET)
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 569 views

 

Who is your local hero?

Whether they're grocery shopping for a neighbor or volunteering for a nonprofit, you can spread the joy and support our journalism efforts by giving them a shout-out.

Learn More