Autonomous vehicles hold the potential to greatly reduce auto crashes. Advocates want them on the road as early as possible to reduce fatalities. Skeptics worry that the public will be guinea pigs during the testing—case in point: Elaine Herzberg.
Wei Huang, a 38-year-old Apple engineer, died after his Tesla Model X collided with a highway barrier on a Bay Area highway interchange on March 23. NTSB wants to know if it was operating on Autopilot. It took 5 hours to reopen the freeway.
A May 7 crash of a Model S Tesla in Florida may have outsized implications for the future of driverless technology. The details of the single-fatality crash were made public in a June 30 blog by Tesla though they were reported immediately to NHTSA.
Tesla has just disclosed the first fatal crash of a driver using its "Autopilot" system. Tesla should be concerned about the question of who's liable, and we should all be concerned about the wider consequences of this tragic event.