Following the news of the fatal crash in a Model S in May, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) implied that Tesla could be planning to disable the Autopilot when drivers are not using it properly, but now Elon Musk gave a quick interview to the publication (Paywall) and says that the company has no plan to disable the Autopilot.
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Instead, Tesla is reportedly working on another blog post (its third since the announcement of the crash) to highlight “how Autopilot works as a safety system and what drivers are expected to do after they activate it.”
WSJ reports that Elon said:
“A lot of people don’t understand what it is and how you turn it on,”
Tesla’s CEO insists that the Autopilot is saving lives, which was the idea from the start when launching the system:
“we knew we had a system that on balance would save lives.”
Since the fatal crash, the automaker has been criticized for releasing a system which could be seen as “incomplete” because it is in ‘beta-phase’, but Musk clarified earlier this week that the use of the word ‘beta’ is to make sure users “don’t get too comfortable” with the system and stay vigilant since it’s not a fully autonomous driving system.
NHTSA is now probing Tesla over two accidents where the Autopilot was potentially activated. While Tesla admitted that the Autopilot was indeed activated during one of the accident, the company insists that the system was not the cause of the crash.
Yet, the federal regulators launched an “examination of the design and performance of any driving aids in use” during the crash.
We will keep an eye out for Tesla’s blog post on the utilization of the Autopilot. In the meantime, Tesla’s owner manual (PDF) already explains in the details how to use the system.