Tesla’s 14th Victim . . . So Far

By Eric Peters |  Eric Peters Autos

Tesla may have just killed its 14th victim; there are at least 13 confirmed kills so far  – as the result of Autopilot. Excluding auto-immolation.

This qualifies Tesla for serial killerhood.

But no FBI investigation – or even a recall.

Instead, an “advisory” from the National Highway Traffic Safety (sic) Administration that drivers of Autopiloted Teslas must always “keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention at all times” – which is right up there with Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.

What is the point of Autopilot and “autonomous” – automated – cars if you have to pay any attention at all?

If, on the other hand, it is necessary for them to pay attention – which NHTSA concedes by warning of its necessity –  then Autopilot is inherently dangerous precisely because it is inevitable that people won’t pay attention. Do the passengers on a cruise ship go below to check whether the ship is taking on water? Are they expected to visit the bridge, to make sure the ship is headed in the right direction? That the captain isn’t drunk or asleep on the sofa? The whole point of being a passenger is to not have to pay attention – whether you’re a passenger on a cruise ship or a passenger in an Autopiloted/automated car.

But Tesla gets away with building cars designed to encourage drivers to become passengers; to take their hands off the wheel – and their eyes off the road – and then blames the driver when the car drives itself into something.

Or someone.

It’s as ridiculous, perplexing – and unjust – as holding the Costa Concordia’s passengers responsible for the ship wandering too close to shore and onto the rocks.

So why does Tesla get away with what amounts to the same thing – only worse because, it’s not just the passengers on these electric Costa Concordias that end up on the rocks but any poor soul who has the misfortune to be in the vicinity. Who didn’t sign up to be a passenger, or take his hands off the wheel.

Because it’s Tesla.

Or rather, because Tesla sells electric cars exclusively and that is a project that cannot be interrupted by petty concerns about the cars being dangerous.

The actual concern being to replace all non-electric cars with electric cars – no matter what it takes.

And then to replace the driver.

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