Joshua Brown, an Ohio resident, was in the driver seat of his 2015 Model S with the Autopilot activated when an 18-wheel semi truck made a left turn in front of his car. He died on the spot when the the car’s roof struck the underside of the trailer as it passed under the trailer
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that it was aware of the accident and has launched a preliminary investigation by sending a team to examine both the car and the crash site.
Tesla issued a statement via a blog post saying that it was the first known Autopilot death in some 209 million kilometres driven by its customers, and insists that the autonomous system is getting better. It then went on to say, 'neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied'.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg has already reported several organisation raising questions about self-driving vehicles and whether autonomous systems are ready for consumers. One of these include CarLab Inc., a consulting firm in California. Its President had harsh words for Tesla, saying that Autopilot 'is a new technology and still in public beta phase. No other automaker sells unproven technology to customers'. It added on that it should do more testing with trained drivers and not leave it in beta mode to allow consumers to test the system.