A Tesla Model S driver became the first human to die in a vehicle driving semi-autonomously this past May when it struck an 18-wheeler with its Autopilot system enabled. In a press conference on Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company believes its new Autopilot update would have saved the driver’s life.
Tesla blamed auto-braking system for the crash in late July, saying the it was not a failure of Autopilot. But the bottom line is that, in Tesla’s own words, “neither the driver nor the car’s sensors could see a tractor trailer pulling across the highway.” But had the car been equipped with the update to the Autopilot system, which primarily depends on radar instead of camera detection, Musk said it probably would have saved Brown’s life.
“We can’t say it with absolute certainty, but we believe that yes it would have [saved Brown’s life],” Musk said. “It would see a large metal object across the road, and there’s no road sign there. This would not be a whitelisted situation, so it would brake.”