Musk Won't Be Bullied into Disabling Autopilot, Reveals Favorable Poll

Joshua Brown using Autopilot 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Elon Musk is currently busy nailing another successful landing of his SpaceX Flacon rocket, but we expect him to return shortly after to the more controversial subjects surrounding Tesla Motors.
His preferred subject in the last couple of weeks has been defending the Autopilot system, which has come under fire after it was involved in a fatal crash earlier in May. Ever since the information became public (almost two months later), Tesla semi-autonomous system has come under scrutiny from officials and the media alike.

While the NHTSA is still investigating the crash together with another one that happened more recently (but with no casualties), the media has been debating whether there was anything Tesla could do to prevent situations like these, or if there's any action it should take as soon as possible.

Everybody agrees that, ultimately, whatever happens while using the Autopilot is the driver's fault, but some people argue that Tesla might be feeding them a wrong impression of the capabilities of its semi-autonomous feature, starting with the name. One of the most vocal publications that went as far as to suggest Tesla should be temporarily disabling the Autopilot until improvements can be made was Consumer Reports.

Now you can't accuse Consumer Reports of hating Tesla after the Model S was the first vehicle to go off-chart in their rating system, scoring 103 points initially. But it looks like it takes the lives of people very seriously, and does not approve the false sense of security that the Autopilot gives. And you just have to be baffled about how it can manage very complicated situations, but it fails to perform the most simple tasks such as braking when there's a car stopped in the lane.

After the publication made its opinions known, Tesla said it would not disable the function on any of its vehicles. Its decision seems to be confirmed by a recent poll among Tesla owners that Elon Musk quoted in one of his tweets. It would appear that none of the people who bought a Tesla would like to have the Autopilot switched off. "Tesla customers are v[ery] smart & don't want media speaking on their behalf ab[ou]t Autopilot. Recent poll: 0.0% want it disabled -- not 0.1%, 0.0%."

Of course, we would probably vote the same way if we were in that situation. On the other hand, we're pretty sure that Joshua Brown, the man who died in that unfortunate incident, would have chosen the same option had he still been alive. We all tend to think we're not like the others and nothing is going to happen to us. So is this really relevant? No. Or maybe it is, but only until the next crash where the Autopilot is involved.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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