However could these accidents have been avoided if there were safeguards put into place? That’s what a report from The Wall Street Journal (via Engadget) is claiming, although it is also what Tesla is denying. The report claims that Tesla had foregone Autopilot safeguards, such as the use of eyetracking and steering wheel sensors due to concerns about cost.
An anonymous source told the publication, “It came down to cost, and Elon was confident we wouldn’t need it.” However Musk has since denied those claims by saying, “This is false. Eyetracking rejected for being ineffective, not for cost. WSJ fails to mention that Tesla is safest car on road, which would make article ridiculous. Approx 4X better than avg.”
Tesla has also since issued a statement that reads, “Ensuring that drivers stay engaged and alert when using Autopilot is extremely important. That is why we designed the system to deliver an escalating series of visual and audio warnings reminding the driver to place their hands on the wheel. That’s also why we’ve taken so many steps to improve this process over time, including an update that prevents a driver from re-engaging Autopilot if they ignore repeated warnings. We’ve explored many technologies and opted for the combination of a hands-on-wheel torsion sensor with visual and audio alerts, and we will of course continue to evaluate new technologies as we evolve the Tesla fleet over time.”