Tesla on autopilot hits firetruck; Elon Musk announces reorganization

Fredrick Soto
May 15, 2018

Responding to a user who indicated that Tesla's autopilot function still needs safety tweaking, Musk stated: "It certainly needs to be better & we work to improve it every day, but flawless is enemy of good".

According to the Associated Press, the accident occurred in South Jordan, Utah, on Friday evening, when a Tesla Model S saloon travelling at 60mph collided with the back of a fire engine that had stopped at a red light. Police said the Tesla driver, who was reportedly looking at her phone before the crash, was taken to hospital with a broken ankle, while the truck driver suffered whiplash. "An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death", the CEO tweeted.

Federal officials have opened investigations into at least two other crashes involving Tesla vehicles in the last two months.

On Monday firefighters in Switzerland said a fatal accident involving a Tesla may have set off a fire in the car's battery.

The NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are also looking into the performance of the company's Autopilot system in the March crash of a Tesla Model X on a California highway.

In his email to staff, Musk said Tesla was "flattening the management structure to improve communication", combining functions and trimming activities "not vital to the success of our mission" in the reorganisation. Waymo said on Sunday that Matthew Schwall had joined it from Tesla, where he was its main technical contact with United States safety investigators, and last week Tesla said senior vice president of engineering Doug Field was taking time off to recharge.

In Utah Tesla vehicle ran into the auto of the fire brigade. "To be clear, we will continue to hire rapidly in critical hourly and salaried positions to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development".

The 48-year-old died when his Tesla caught fire after he slammed into a crash barrier on the A2 motorway in southern Ticino. Although the Model S can be driven autonomously, it remains unclear whether the car's autopilot feature was turned on at the time of the crash.

Reuters recalls that Elon Musk mentioned reorganization during Tesla's Q1 earnings conference call, but at that time, Musk did not go into details.

"We've been doing a thorough search of our service records, and we can not find anything suggesting that the customer ever complained to Tesla about the performance of Autopilot", Tesla said in a statement.

In a Twitter post on Monday, Musk denied a Wall Street Journal report that Tesla had rejected a system that would have tracked driver eye movement when using Autopilot for cost reasons.

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