Tesla (TSLA) CEO Musk Notes Positive Autopilot Story; Serious Injury/Death Averted Thanks to System

July 21, 2016 11:32 AM EDT

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Tesla's (Nasdaq: TSLA) Autopilot has caught some scrutiny recently following a series of publicized accidents, one leading to a very unfortunate and untimely death. However, the system is also helping to save lives, just as the company says it was designed to do.

CEO Elon Musk posted the following letter to Twitter on Thursday highlighting effectiveness of the Autopilot system not only for

The full letter follows:


I wanted to let you know that I think my car probably saved the life of a pedestrian last night, 7/16 around 10:30pm when I was driving in Washington DC with my daughter. I was on New York Ave and it was night time, there was a lot of glare from the headlights of oncoming cars, and there was a siren in the distance. We were having trouble figuring out if the siren was coming from behind us or from one of the side roads when a pedestrian stepped out in front of our Model S in the dark with dark clothes and in the middle of the road (not near an intersection).

Before I could step on the brakes the beeped (collision warnings) and the picture of a red car came up on my dash. The car slammed on the breaks before I could and we stopped just inches from hitting the pedestrian. I guess that the car thought the pedestrian was another car in front of us? I am not sure if I would have been able to stop before hitting him but I am so glad the car did. I am not sure if the event is recorded in the cars sensor logs.

At a time when there are so many negative stories about Autopilot and the death that occurred a few weeks ago, I thought that it was important to let you all know about this story. The work that you are all doing is really important and is saving lives. Unfortunately, incidents like this one don’t get written about in the press and most of the time no one is ever aware of how many accidents your safety features may have prevented. Thanks and thanks for letting customers use Autopilot even though it is in beta.


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