tesla_model_x_6Tesla has reiterated many times in the past that the autopilot feature is not the same as self-driving. However the company’s CEO did state that the system is smart enough where it can actually reduce the chances of accidents by as much as 50%, and we have seen videos in the past that prove it.

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However even if the reduction rate were 90%, there’s still always the possibility that something could go wrong, which is what happened recently when it was reported that a driver had died while Tesla’s autopilot mode was active. Tesla says that they have reported the incident to the NHTSA who will be conducting an investigation to ensure that everything worked according to expectations.

In a statement provided to The Verge by the NHTSA, “NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation will examine the design and performance of the automated driving systems in use at the time of the crash. During the Preliminary Evaluation, NHTSA will gather additional data regarding this incident and other information regarding the automated driving systems.”

A post on Tesla’s blog describes what happened. “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.”

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