Tesla Motors Inc was in the news last weekend for unsavory reasons after a new Model X owner claimed that his 5-day old car developed a mind of its own and crashed into a building at “maximum speed”. The event follows a couple of accidents in which drivers have accused Tesla’s autopilot of going rouge – in one instance, a rouge Model S crashed into a parked trailer and in the second instance, the car refused to engage “autobrake” when the vehicle ahead of it was stopping.
Vehicle Logs Might Have Saved Tesla’s Image in This Instance
It would be somewhat difficult to imagine the intensity of public shaming and vitriol that would have been directed at Tesla Motors Inc if its technology was the cause of the accident as insinuated by the driver. The driver, Puzant Ozbag wrote that his Model X, “suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated at high speed on its own climbing over 39 feet of planters and crashing into a building.”
He also suggested that Tesla should stop delivering the Model X and it appears that he might be pinning for a class-action lawsuit because he asked anyone with similar experience to contact him directly. The events that Puzant described and his subsequent actions could have placed Tesla on the defensive at a time when regulators are still skeptical about allowing autonomous driving tech to take over from human drivers.
In an interesting turn of events, the accident might turn out to be the perfect example that Tesla needs to convince regulators that humans are prone to making more driving errors than its autopilot system. The vehicle logs of the moments before, during, and after the accident revealed that the driver and not autopilot made the decisions that led to the crash. It appears that a driver mistakenly pressing the accelerator instead of the break – panic sets in, there was a crash, and a $150,000 car was almost totaled.
A statement from Tesla absolves Autopilot of wrongdoing and it firmly places the blame on the doorstep of the driver. Part of the statement reads, “We analyzed the vehicle logs which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed.”
Here’s How Not To Use Supercharger
Every new technology that aims to disrupt an industry has its fair share of challenges. One of the peculiar challenges facing EVs has to do with charging on the go because Tesla’s supercharger network can’t seem to keep up with the rate at which people are buying its cars. Now, you can imagine how pissed you’ll be if you get to a Supercharger station only to find out that someone has parked a Model X across the slots meant for two other cars while charging his own car.
Last weekend, Teslarati reported that “a Model X with bike in tow parked horizontally across three of twelve Supercharging stalls located at the Delaware Welcome Center in Newark, DE.” People didn’t waste time in public shaming the owner and his car. One of the punch lines reads, “”Dear California jackhole, Here in Delaware we think it is rude to take 3 supercharger spaces with one vehicle. What is wrong with you?????? This takes selfishness to a new level.” The driver has not come out to explain or defend his actions, but all Tesla Motors Inc owners can learn a lesson or two about how not to use a Supercharger.