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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Consumer Watchdog Slams Elon Musk, Demands Tesla Pull the Plug on Autopilot

Tesla HQ

America’s highest profile consumer advocacy group is calling out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for waiting a month to disclose the prospective risk posed to owners by the company’s Autopilot technologies.

In a letter to Musk, Consumer Watchdog demands that Tesla sideline its Autopilot program till it can be established protected, criticizes the CEO for side-stepping blame in numerous crashes, and accuses him of placing the public at danger.

Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system is continually updated based on owner feedback. The company’s tradition of “beta testing” its products was called out by safety advocates right after it was revealed on June 30 that Autopilot played a role in a fatal May possibly 7 crash on a Florida highway.

For Consumer Watchdog, founded in 1985 with assist from automobile safety advocate Ralph Nader, the particulars of the crash are proof of a hazardous Autopilot flaw.

“An autopilot whose sensors can’t distinguish among the side of a white truck and a vibrant sky simply is not prepared to be deployed on public roads,” reads the letter, signed by president Jamie Court and two executives. “Tesla must immediately disable the autopilot feature on all your cars until it can be confirmed to be secure. At a minimum, autopilot have to be disabled till the total benefits of NHTSA’s investigation are released.”

Tesla’s admission of the crash coincided with the National Highway Site visitors Safety Administration opening an investigation into the incident. Since then, the NHTSA launched another investigation into the July 1 rollover crash of a Model X in Pennsylvania. That automobile was allegedly driving in Autopilot mode at the time.

The automaker claims it informed the NHTSA of the Could 7 crash on Could 16, and sent an investigator to examine the wreckage on May possibly 18. The automaker’s investigation was completed during the final week of Could.

In its letter to Musk, Customer Watchdog mentions Tesla’s “inexplicable delay” in notifying owners of the crash, calling the month-extended gap “inexcusable.” The group goes on to say that beta testing shouldn’t be used on merchandise that could lead to fatal consequences for the user, and accuses Tesla of making use of its shoppers as “guinea pigs.”

“You want to have it each ways with autopilot,” the letter reads. “On the 1 hand you extoll the supposed virtues of autopilot, making the impression that, once engaged, it is self-enough. Your customers are lulled into believing their automobile is protected to be left to do the driving itself. On the other hand you walk back any guarantee of safety, saying autopilot is still in Beta mode and drivers have to pay attention all the time.”

Statements created by Musk and the “Tesla Team” in the aftermath of the current crashes and a rear-finish collision last November quantity to “victim blaming,” the group stated. It demands that Autopilot only return when it can be confirmed protected, with a pledge from Tesla to be liable if any faults take place when the method is activated.

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Is Musk Biting Off More Than He Can Chew With SolarCity Proposal?

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It was a small terrifying watching the question-and-answer session near the finish of Tesla’s livestreamed annual shareholder’s meeting, and it wasn’t just the lady asking about goji berries.

All of the speakers — effectively, the majority of them — seemed to possess a stratospheric level of admiration for Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Like religious (or political) disciples, the trust they placed in the man’s brilliance and selection-producing skills seemed limitless.

Properly, following this week’s announcement that Tesla is supplying to purchase SolarCity — a solar energy provider co-founded and chaired by Musk — cracks are forming in his circle of supporters, particularly in the financial realm.

The proposed share-for-share deal would be worth somewhere in the region of $ two.eight billion. Each and every business is embarking on its largest project to date: Tesla is readying its California assembly plant and battery-producing Gigafactory for subsequent year’s Model three, although SolarCity is attempting to get its enormous Buffalo, New York solar panel factory off the ground.

The prospective for a monetary cushion lifted SolarCity’s stock yesterday, but Tesla’s share rates made like Gerald Ford exiting an airplane.

When trading opened yesterday, Tesla shares have been all of a sudden twenty bucks decrease than they were at four p.m. the day prior to ($ 199.31, down from $ 219.61). At final read, values had eroded additional, to $ 194.32. Not a Volkswagen-level drop, but a negative reaction to the SolarCity proposal nonetheless.

These days, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas, generally an enthusiastic believer in Tesla’s business abilities, lowered his recommendation of the stock, as effectively as his 12-month target price tag. No longer predicting a $ 333 per share worth, Jonas now sees the number $ 243.

Writing to consumers, he stated, “we believe numerous of the positive aspects could have been accomplished by way of arm’s length/strategic partnership and without the risks inherent in exposing Tesla shareholders to the monetary and capital markets risks faced by (SolarCity).”

Over at MarketWatch, investing columnist Philip Van Doorn warned investors not to expect to make much income in the near term. In his column, he quoted David Bechtel, a principal at Barrow Funds, who named a achievable merger between the two businesses “downright frightening.”

Financier Jim Chanos referred to as it a “shameful example of corporate governance at its worst,” adding that neither business is financially strong adequate to deal with a merger.

Some critics worry that a deal would result in Tesla to take its eye off the ball (which means the Model 3), risking the company’s fortunes and future. Musk claims the merger makes sense, as both companies are pursuing diverse ends of the exact same marketplace. He’s also said a merger wouldn’t impact Tesla’s money flow.

Regardless of some investor panic over Musk’s actions, not all Tesla shareholders are obtaining cold feet. Reuters quoted Joe Dennison, portfolio manager at Zevenbergen Capital Investments (a holder of 600,000 shares), who referred to as the strategy “a organic evolution of (Tesla’s) mission to transform transportation into a sustainable company.”

[Sources: Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Reuters, BBC]

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Musk Says the Tesla Model S Suspension Controversy is Over

2016 Tesla Model S

Elon Musk is declaring the controversy that erupted over reports of Tesla Model S suspension failures to be over, completed, completed, finito.

The Tesla founder and CEO fired off a string of tweets late Friday, saying that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration was done hunting into the matter, and added that the majority of complaints had been identified to be fraudulent.

Yesterday, TTAC examined the specifics of the case that sparked accusations of a significant Model S security concern and a cover-up on the component of the automaker. The firestorm of controversy, ignited by a Daily Kanban blog post by ex-TTAC editor Edward Neidermeyer, centered on a Pennsylvania man whose 2013 Model S skilled an unusual upper ball joint failure.

A non-disclosure clause in the “goodwill agreement” handed to the owner during the vehicle’s repair procedure raised even a lot more questions. The NHTSA, which had been contacted by Tesla owners and other folks, examined the language in the document and announced it was hunting into the suspension problem.

Although this was going on, Tesla fired back at critics with a lengthy and unusually harsh weblog post of its personal, denying there was a security concern and singling out Neidermeyer for his post.

It now looks like Musk desires the final say on the matter. Taking to Twitter last night, he announced, “NHTSA confirmed right now that they discovered no security concern with the Model S suspension and have no additional need for information from us on this matter.”

He then added, “Of greater concern: 37 of 40 suspension complaints to NHTSA were fraudulent, i.e. false location or car identification numbers have been utilised.” Musk then questioned the intentions of those who made false complaints.

Looking into the situation, TTAC’s Mark Stevenson and Bozi Tatarevic discovered that the non-disclosure agreement, whilst unusual, was likely unenforceable. The automaker would have a potentially ruinous PR disaster on its hands if it attempted to silence consumer complaints.

The suspension failure that led to the controversy looked to be the outcome of a damaged rubber ball joint boot that allowed water and road salt to enter the ball joint, ultimately top to its premature failure. The broken boot remains a mystery — it could have been compromised when it left the factory or broken when the owner drove his Model S down rutted Pennsylvania roads.

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Is Musk Preparing a New Way of Obtaining Around for us Plebs?

Elon Musk

Not absolutely everyone can afford a Tesla, even the reduced cost Model 3, so what is Elon Musk going to do for the public transit set?

Some thing, apparently. The Tesla founder coyly hinted at a subsequent massive thing for the duration of a talk in Norway, according to Bloomberg, leaving many asking yourself whether he had a strategy to do away with buses.

Musk told the transportation summit that an autonomous solution to visitors congestion would be in each and every city’s best interest.

“We have an thought for one thing which is not exactly a bus but would resolve the density dilemma for inner city circumstances,” stated Musk, adding that he couldn’t say too a lot about it. “There’s a new kind of vehicle or automobile that would be wonderful for that and that’ll truly take people to their final destination and not just the bus quit.”

Regardless of the rapt audience, Musk kept it zipped, providing out no concrete information of the strategy.

Apart from generating a line of electric cars, Musk unleashed the notion of inter-city vacuum tube travel via his Hyperloop idea. He’s mentioned automobile-sharing services in the previous, but this development seems like an altogether new venture — if there’s even a venture.

What would a Tesla resolution to public transit appear like? Our imaginations can run wild with visions of self-driving buses, or maybe personal mobility pods, but only Musk knows what’s brewing in his head. Great luck dealing with the transit unions if that concept becomes a reality 1 day.

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