Tesla said in a blog post on Thursday “neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.” Tesla’s Model S & Model X EVs are both equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) which is designed to use the brakes of the vehicle at the latest possible moment to avoid or lessen the damage of a crash. A such accident could impact the future of the technology that has attracted billions of dollars of investment.
On the other part, the manufacturer observed that “This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the U.S., there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles.” When Autopilot launched in October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk cautioned the hotly anticipated function was in beta mode, or a test phase of development, with full ‘hands-off’ driving not recommended.