Musk Pushed Back Against Tesla Employees’ Autopilot Concerns: Report

2016 Tesla Model S

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s drive to develop and market new driving technology is nicely recognized, but former employees say he brushed aside their concerns about the security of the company’s Autopilot system.

Several employees, like a former Autopilot engineer, told CNN Funds that their concerns fell on deaf ears, as Musk usually reverted back to a “bigger picture” position on safety.

The automaker’s semi-autonomous driving system came under scrutiny in the wake of a fatal May crash. Musk claims that although the Autopilot didn’t recognize a transport truck in that case, the technique tends to make roads safer. He’s pledged to do far more to educate owners on how to effectively use Autopilot, but has no plans to stop providing the technique.

Musk told the Wall Street Journal “we knew we had a technique that on balance would save lives.”

Speaking to CNNMoney, ex-Autopilot engineer Eric Meadows claims he was pulled more than by police in 2015 although testing Autopilot on a Los Angeles highway, a few months just before the system’s release. The Tesla had difficulty handling turns, and the police suspected him of becoming intoxicated.

Meadows was later fired for overall performance motives, but he claims his worries about Autopilot’s security — specifically the possibility that owners would “push the limits” of the technologies — grew over time.

“The last two months I was scared an individual was going to die,” he said.

The report mentions a former Tesla executive who worked closely with Musk, and claims the CEO was regularly at loggerheads with “overly cautious” employees. Tesla’s self-parking feature went ahead as planned, another source claims, despite worries that sensors wouldn’t function effectively if the vehicle was close to the edge of a steep slope. Again, the greater great of preventing driveway deaths overruled these concerns.

The employee mix at Tesla falls into two categories — younger, data-driven personnel and seasoned automotive sector varieties. The report cites several sources who claim that information is the guiding element in Tesla’s decisions, meaning slight risk is allowed if it means a greater possible for general safety.

Even though this bothers some engineers and customer safety groups, even the agency investigating the Might crash sides with Musk’s views on security. Recently, National Highway Targeted traffic Security Administration administrator Mark Rosekind mentioned the sector “cannot wait for perfect” when it comes to advertising and marketing potentially life-saving autonomous technology.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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