Tesla is on the cusp of launching a subscription program for its Full Self-Driving add-on but recent events may throw doubt and concern regarding the rather pricey semi-autonomous driver assistance. It also probably explains why the company and its CEO are working overtime to dispel those doubts and divert attention elsewhere, like on the media. A recent crash in Texas involving one of Tesla’s Model S cars cost the lives of two men but not only is the company insisting there was someone on the driver’s seat, it also says that Autopilot wasn’t even engaged.
These are, of course, contradictory to what Houston investigators concluded. Though there wasn’t much left of the car to go on, the positions of the bodies led them to believe that one man was sitting on the passenger side while the other was on the backseat. This suggests that no one was actually behind the wheel at the time of the incident, which would have only made sense if either Autopilot or the Full Self-Driving feature were in use.
Tesla representatives who inspected the crash refuted those claims, however. Although the investigation is still ongoing, which makes the disclosure a bit premature, the company says that the deformed shape of the wheel suggested someone was actually on the driver’s seat. Additionally, the seat belts were determined to be unbuckled, which would have prevented Autopilot from even working, though some reports claim it wasn’t that hard to trick that safety check.
Elon Musk later added that the vehicle owner didn’t even purchase the FSD option, which discounts that possibility. The illustrious Tesla CEO, however, didn’t stop there and once again bemoaned “deceptive media practices” that focused too much on Tesla car crashes, especially those that were blamed on Autopilot or Full Self-Driving.
This, however, wouldn’t be the first time such accidents occurred, many of which may have indeed been the fault of drivers misjudging the capabilities of those features. Then again, many have already chided Tesla’s misleading use of “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” as marketing terms that don’t actually do what they sound like they’d do. Tesla does have numerous instructions and warnings about how to use those features properly, at which point it practically blames those incidents on poor judgment.