Senate Committee Calls Upon Tesla To Brief Panel On Fatal Model S Crash


Autopilot Engaged

Autopilot Engaged

Motivated by Consumer reports’ recent suggestions to Tesla to change the name of its Autopilot system and to remove the “hands-free” option or disable the software, a U.S. Senate Committee is calling upon Tesla to provide a brief on the recent fatal Model S crash in Florida.

Tesla Model X Crash In Monatana - Autopilot Was Engaged And The Driver Was Not Holding The Wheel -Image Via TMC

Tesla Model X Crash In Montana – Autopilot Was Engaged And The Driver Was Not Holding The Wheel -Image Via TMC

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation chairman John Thune, asked CEO Elon Musk to provide the committee with its report by July 29. Thune expressed the need to be made aware of Tesla’s plans to make sure that the technology is safe and that consumers will be properly educated of its limitations.

Consumer Reports has indicated that the Autopilot name and the way in which it is marketed is causing drivers to assume too much.

In a related Tweet by Musk, he made it clear that logs showed that Autopilot was not engaged in another recent crash, in Pennsylvania. He also added that the crash would have been avoided had the technology been in use. Musk Tweeted:

“Onboard vehicle logs show Autopilot was turned off in Pennsylvania crash. Moreover, crash would not have occurred if it was on.”

Tesla reported that logs showed Autopilot was activated in the crash in Montana and that the driver’s hands were not on the steering wheel.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reportedly reviewing the crashes, among others. The Michigan driver that was involved in the Pennsylvania accident was charged with careless driving, and although he initially explained that he thought Autopilot was on.

Tesla, in response to Consumer Reports’ recommendations, thanked the publication for its concerns and advice, but noted that it will make its own decisions with the support of compiled data. Being that the technology is in a “beta” stage, drivers are made aware and have to “opt-in” upon activation.

Tesla continues to insist that the Autopilot system is much like that in use by commercial airlines. It functions in desired conditions but:

“The driver (pilot) is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.”

Source: Autonews

Categories: Tesla

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42 Comments on "Senate Committee Calls Upon Tesla To Brief Panel On Fatal Model S Crash"

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Well, this is bad news all around. I have more confidence in Tesla working with NHTSA than the politicians we elect to make matters worse while still appearing dedicated to HOPE and CHANGE. I think the poor fellow in Florida suffered at the hands of a semi truck driver who crossed into opposing traffic. I do hope that Harry Potter is exonerated in the investigations.

I’m sure the politicians will decide that not enough prayer is involved in driving, and that it would also really help if the Tesla touchscreen first displayed the ten commandments before allowing the car to start. Oh, and of course, everyone on board should have a gun.

Troll much? Some EV owners also own guns and have an active prayer life.

Republicans will ask Musk to ban Muslim and Mexican drivers from using all Tesla vehicles lol

“..although he initially explained that he thought Autopilot was on, he silenced further discussion when the investigations began”, Elon made clear otherwise, and he began to fear the next Space X rocket could land on his home.

Why congress don’t better ban assault weapons that kills thousands per year and are designed only to kill.

Why are people more upset about blocked gun restrictions than the fact that one branch of the Fed. Gov’t. is disrespecting a second branch by effectively holding the third branch hostage?

Since when has bigotry become so acceptable in this post-Civil Rights era that it is OK to risk tie votes on major Supreme Court decisions (which has already happened) simply because the leaders of the ruling party in the Senate can’t handle the legitimate, sitting President’s skin color?!? The level of disrespect that the Senate is showing to President Obama by refusing to hold a hearing for his Supreme Court nominee is unfathomable.

No kidding. Congress should have a committee look into their own obstruction of a justice. Their credibility is like non-existent.

Assault weapons don’t kill ‘thousands per year’. (Of course, guns don’t kill anyone themselves).

Suicide by gun is twice as likely as homicide by gun, meaning 61% of gun deaths are suicide. 75% of the homicides are with handguns.

Violence with assault weapons comprises a very small fraction of the gun violence in the US, but it receives an inordinate amount of press.

Strange, there must be something wrong with my AR-15. I load it and leave it by itself for long periods of time, and yet it hasn’t killed anyone. The darn thing doesn’t even move! I need to get my money back I guess.

Interesting. It is almost the exact second anniversary since GM’s CEO was having to explain the ignition switch debacle

Now, please, someone, refresh my memory. HOW many deaths does it take before Congress takes an interest? In the case of the Volt fire, it was zero. In the case of the Tesla AP, it was one. I think have our answer on an ‘agenda’, especially in light of this senator’s voting record concerning oil

Such narrow minds. Autonomous vehicle control has the potential to revolutionize transportation like no other technology we have seen before. The reason autonomous vehicle technology has been able to progress as far as it has is because of strong political support and we should get used to congress keeping a very close eye on autonomous vehicle developments.

Of course, but Big Oil puppets want Tesla to fail, not autonomous driving.

Do you stay awake at night thinking of these things? Is there someone creeping up behind you? Is there someone listening in on your phone calls and watching your every move?

Very funny! Ha! Ha !Ha!

How do you think capitalist corporations survive? By following rules? Which rules?
Market rules? What is competition good for when you can have cartels and monopolies? Over the law, controlling the media and the politicians. No need to be paranoid, only common “business as usual” sense.

A wolf pack is much more effective than a single wolf.

That said, I totally agree with you that autonomous driving will revolutionize transportation. And it will be electric only for the obvious economic benefits. It will also be by air with passenger drones.

Texas FFE said:

“Do you stay awake at night thinking of these things? Is there someone creeping up behind you? Is there someone listening in on your phone calls and watching your every move?”

Most informed people don’t need to stay awake nights “thinking up” how Big Oil has so much corrupting influence in the U.S. Congress. Most of us can see it rather plainly.

If you can’t see it, if you don’t realize that things like Fox News constantly bashing EVs, Hard Right talking points pinning the cost of GM’s bailout on development of the Volt, Mitt Romney calling Tesla Motors one of Obama’s “failures” during a presidential debate, and Big Oil lobbying to divert tax money from supporting the development of BEVs into wholly impractical “fool cell” cars, are all part of a pattern, a conspiracy to suppress or at least slow the EV revolution…

Then you need to take off your blinders.

Some conspiracies, some hidden agendas, are real. (Altho in this case, not that well hidden.) A congressman in the pocket of Big Oil heading up a congressional investigation of Tesla Motors during a campaign year… is very clearly one of ’em.

Try this extension to see instantly who is funding who.

John Thune leads the Senate Committee.

He’s a Republican from South Dakota. Obvious oil interests there.

SOUTH Dakota, Mad, produces little oil. They are 25th out of 50 states. They produce right around 1% as much as New Mexico which is in 5th place for US States. So SD produces right around 0..124% of what Texas produces.
Thune doesn’t have a lot of oil produced in his home state but supporting domestic production of oil makes a lot of sense if your position in oil is anything other than illogical hatred.
Oil is cheap, energy dense and reasonably clean plus the US has a LOT of it. Cheap oil/cheap energy is/are a large factor in the incredible reduction in world poverty these past hundred years. Moving away from it before we are ready would be a fools choice.

So Ziv, you are now shilling for Big Oil and their Koch Brothers’ talking points.

I suppose you will next deny the existence of AGW just like Exxon has been doing for 40 years after their research discovered that AGW from burning fossil fuels including petroleum is a threat to humanity and the entire planet’s ecosystem:

Take away cheap energy and you lose the very foundation of a strong economy. Renewables are getting better but they aren’t going to be able to replace the cheap energy natural gas and gasoline provide for 5 to 10 years. We need to continue to drill for gas and oil for at least 10 more years or people will lose jobs in the west and poverty will grow in the third world.
Is there some global warming? Yeah. And part of it is caused by carbon emissions, but not all of it. There are other green house gasses that contribute to the warming and reducing our carbon output will barely touch the probable increase in temps that will probably occur. But if the current forecasts for the temp increase are as overstated as the ones made in the past, we will be better able to handle the relatively mild effects of the warming if we have a strong economy rather than a Green Economy that has neutered our economic growth. If the warmistas truly believed the temps were rising that fast they wouldn’t be hiding the actual temp data and trying to “hide the decline”.

Cheap energy?!? How about completely free forever, clean and indefinitely renewable?

“Oil is cheap, energy dense and reasonably clean…” Oil is cheap and contributing to economic turmoil in petroleum states. Alaska’s economy is in trouble due to cheap oil. Oil is energy dense can’t argue that. Oil is not reasonably clean, would you bath in oily water? Would you drink oily water? Would you allow your children to play in oil?

Try this extension to see instantly who is funding who.

I agree that all of these automated features of vehicles have needed the attention of gov’t oversight for some time.

However, given the fact that Tesla isn’t the only automaker that has such capabilities in their vehicles, I detect the stench of election-year political motivation.

Why is the crashed Model X subheading saying that autopilot was engaged, but just left of it in the quote area, it’s saying autopilot was NOT engaged.

That is a very good question!

Slow news day?

Two different incidents. The one with the death on the PA turnpike was in much worse shape, and that was the incident where AP was confirmed to be not engaged. The picture was of a recent accident where autopilot was actually engaged. It is a little confusing.

No one died in the PA incident.

Congress is so worthless. Oh we are just looking into it because CR says so. Bah..lies..lies, that’s all we ever get from you.

This is very much outside of Regular Order even for Congressional investigative committees.

You never go straight to questioning the CEO of any company as your first action. First you request written information, and then based upon the written information, you question lower level employees in private.

Only once you have the proper background and information to even ask the right questions, do you bring a CEO in front of Congress to testify.

This is basic “Investigation 101”. This stinks of political games.

We will see how quickly the scope of questions get far outside just collision investigation. That will confirm whether or not this is just an election year stunt.

They also want this by the same date as the Gigafactory party.

Great timing. Huh. 😉

May I suggest to Elon Musk sending them a Golden Ticket to the gigafactory event where they could do the brief and, at the same time, they would be able to see why their traditional “sponsors” (oil, utilities,etc…) are so afraid of and why they want that their political friends to slowing down Tesla! 🙂

Exactly right. I hope Mr Musk brings a photo of the agreement screen posted by scottf200…

…so these politicos can understand better.

But in the end, it’s a political stunt.

Yes it is a stunt like the House Republicans calling the Clean Power Plan “unamerican”:

Nice videos to show the neocons in the Senate, when they ask for examples of how AutoPilot is supposed to work and how it is to be used.

I wonder if Mercedes, Audi, etc have a similar screen to this one in my Tesla Model X? This Tesla AutoSteer/Pilot feature has to be read and agreed to at orientation (was at mine). And *each* time you turn-on/enable it, it will remind you to keep your hands on the wheel.

Good question. When people mistake this Level 2 system for a Level 4 system, Bad Things happen.

I am wondering if the oversight committee has investigated how many crashes have happened when a vehicle had standard cruise control on. Exactly zero automatic safeties build in. You set the speed and no matter what the vehicle will try and maintain this speed. Why was this allowed for decades?

I wish the Senate would be as proactive each time someone gets killed by a gun or pistol!

Senate Republicans will ask Elon Musk to add gun storage on all Tesla models so that Obama can’t take away their guns. Lol