Sterling Anderson, Tesla’s Director of Autopilot Programs, made a rare comment on the recent and evolving situation around his project at the automaker. He said that it’s been “a dark couple of months” for his team after the death of Joshua Brown, the Model S owner involved in an accident in Florida while driving on Autopilot, and the subsequent media coverage of the tragic event.
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The engineer, who was in charge of the Model X program prior to leading the Autopilot team, made the comment while sharing an article from Road and Track’s Jack Baruth titled ‘Leave Tesla Alone‘. Anderson commented:
“It’s been a dark couple of months. From losing an avid supporter to being excoriated in the press for pioneering technologies designed only to make driving safer on the net. Thank you, R&T, for shining a small ray of sunshine on a widely misunderstood team.”
The article reinforces the argument that Tesla has been putting forward for the past two weeks, that despite the tragic accident, the Autopilot’s fatality rate per mile is still far better than the world or US average, and then goes on to criticize the media’s treatment of Tesla after the crash. It includes little gems like:
“These individuals are assisted in their quest by a media that long ago decided that it was completely okay with killing the society on which it parasitically feeds. Every potential flaw in a Tesla, every customer complaint, and every perceived shortfall from perfection in the product, the company, or its people is endlessly chewed into pulp by the mandibles of these filthy dung beetles in an effort to find a morsel of notoriety on which they can subsist”
Along with Anderson, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also commented on the article:
Musk said in the past that he agrees that new technology should be subject to a higher level of scrutiny, but he did fight back against the media after several critiques of Tesla’s handling of the disclosure of the accident, which erupted from a series of reports from Fortune.
After arguing with the authors and editors of the reports, Elon blocked the publications from his popular Twitter page:
In May, Anderson gave a presentation on the Autopilot revealing some new details about the company’s semi-autonomous driver assist system and its implementation in Tesla’s fleet.
Featured image: Sterling Anderson, Tesla’s Director of Autopilot Programs, at the MIT’s Em Tech Digital conference – picture via Steve Jurvetson, partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Tesla board member.