As a sign of things to come, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed it’s investigation into the death of a man at the wheel of a self-driving Model S.
On May 7th in Williston, FL, Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old Ohioan was sitting back like a boss, letting his Tesla escort him around when the vehicles cameras where unable to distinguish between an open lane and a goddamn truck. The car passed beneath the trailer until it didn’t, the windshield being the first to make contact. Than the guy’s face.
Accusations against Tesla concerned a premature release of autonomous driving software, despite the feature requiring drive to acknowledge that the software was still in it’s beta phase. The onus is on, then, the driver to be prepared to intervene in case a heretofore unencountered flaw present itself (like driving in to a fucking truck.) However, as Mr. Brown was watching a DVD from the driveseat, well, then fair play to the Model S.
This verdict is big news not just for Tesla but for other auto manufacturers as well as it provides them freedom from liability in instituting their own autonomous systems going forward. Just say it’s in beta.