There is bad timing and there’s this.
Tesla has long been lauded for its groundbreaking autopilot feature that allows the driver to become a passenger while the vehicle functions autonomously in all ranges of traffic, both street, and highway. Alongside that praise came a faction of detractors who don’t believe in the ability of the auto technology to be reliable enough to trust with their lives. Sadly, the two subjects of this story appeared to be part of the former group, much to their detriment.
According to TMZ, two Texas men lost their lives horrifically after their Tesla Model S crashed into a tree and burst into flames while they were trapped in the cabin. The police report states that the crash was likely caused by an autopilot failure as neither man was behind the wheel of the car. Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman says that one man was in the passenger seat and one was in the back while traveling at “a high rate of speed.”
The 59-year-old and 69-year-old told their wives they were going to take the Tesla out to try out the autopilot feature just minutes before they met their fate. To make matters even worse, Tesla founder Elon Musk unknowingly sent the following tweet just a few hours prior to this incident.
Last year the National Transportation Safety Board issued a warning to Tesla following a previous crash that occurred in 2018. The organization stated that the tech giant “wasn’t doing enough” to ensure the safety of their customers using the autopilot mode.
“This tragic crash clearly demonstrates the limitations of advanced driver assistance systems available to consumers today,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said back in February. “There is not a vehicle currently available to US consumers that is self-driving. Period. Every vehicle sold to US consumers still requires the driver to be actively engaged in the driving task, even when advanced driver assistance systems are activated.”
Again, there’s bad timing and there’s this. Rest in peace to the men who died.