From the New York Times’s “2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say” posted Monday:
Two men were killed in Texas after a Tesla they were in crashed on Saturday and caught fire with neither of the men behind the wheel, the authorities said.
Mark Herman, the Harris County Precinct 4 constable, said that physical evidence from the scene and interviews with witnesses led officials “to believe no one was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.”
The vehicle, a 2019 Model S, was going at a “high rate of speed” around a curve at 11:25 p.m. local time when it went off the road about 100 feet and hit a tree, Constable Herman said. The crash occurred in a residential area in the Woodlands, an area about 30 miles north of Houston.
The men were 59 and 69 years old. One was in the front passenger seat and one in the rear seat, Constable Herman said.
My take: It’s a tossup who was more reckless, the two guys who let a Tesla drive itself into a tree or Elon Musk, sold them the thing. I’m reminded of the piece in EE Times by Colin Barnden that I quoted in January:
Uber seemingly didn’t think, or didn’t care, about the risks of hurling 4,500-pound Volvo XC90s around the streets of Tempe, Arizona, using test-level software and poorly trained safety drivers. It foolishly pursued the Silicon Valley mantra of “move fast and break things” in its efforts to be first to market with a self-driving robotaxi service and succeeded in killing Elaine Herzberg in March 2018…
For the last five or so years, we have been watching a multi-billion-dollar game of poker play out under the guise of “self-driving.” Uber was the robotaxi joker and Tesla the sucker that showed everyone the liability risks associated with poorly designed automated driving systems and inadequate driver monitoring in mass-market vehicles.
Apple, in comparison, is neither stupid nor a sucker. Apple did what Apple does and sat on the sidelines and watched developments unfold. It waited. And waited. And waited…