Tesla Autopilot Acquitted by NHTSA After Fatal Crash

The agency has been researching the issue since the time of the accident in 2016.

byCaleb Jacobs| PUBLISHED Jan 23, 2017 10:33 AM
Tesla Autopilot Acquitted by NHTSA After Fatal Crash

Last year, shortly after Autopilot's release to the public, a Florida man was killed in a crash driving a Tesla Model S. He was using the autonomous technology at the time, alarming all of those who thought the system was fool-proof. Although it is an advanced system, Tesla does caution drivers to stay aware at all times so that they may take control if needed. The NHTSA underwent an investigation to decide who (or what) was at fault, leading to the eventual clearing of Tesla's Autopilot.

This helps Tesla breathe easy. If they were declared guilty for the situation, it would have led to a major recall affecting all Tesla's featuring Autopilot and a certain lawsuit. Now that they've been acquitted, Tesla can go back to normal operations and technology advancements. In a statement, the manufacturer said that it is thankful for the "thoroughness" of the investigation.

Although this clears up any legal trouble, many still have their doubts. Tesla hasn't been to blame for any of the accidents so far, but many experts say that the system can't be relied upon as much as you may expect. Complaints range from the vehicle's ability to distiniguish objects to its explained capabilities, maybe leading customers to think it can perform more tasks than it actually can. The latter was the decided reason for the crash that caused this whirling with the NHTSA in the first place.

Reportedly, Tesla was highly compliant with the NHTSA's wishes. They could pull data from cars that had crashed in the past, showing real-time statistics and analytics. This should help the manufacturer look better in the public eye, proving their confidence in their product. Some thought they had jumped the gun by introducing Autopilot soon, but Mr. Musk and his crew's ever-present assurance are saying otherwise.

Tesla continues to urge drivers to stay alert on the road, even when using Autopilot. By doing so, you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble and worry -- the technology isn't there yet.