Self-driving cars are nifty. Electric vehicles are cool. And when you think of self-driving electric cars, it’s hard not to think of Tesla. That said, not everyone associates them with safety. And with how the AI’s algorithmic thinking is looking, they may have good reason.
On Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency under the guidance of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said it would be expanding a probe and look into 830,000 Tesla cars across all four current model lines, 11% more vehicles than they were previously examining.
Initially the probe started last year in response to Tesla vehicles mysteriously plowing into the scene of an existing accident where first responders were already present.
On Thursday, NHTSA said it had discovered in 16 separate instances when this occurred that Autopilot “aborted vehicle control less than one second prior to the first impact,” suggesting the driver was not prepared to assume full control over the vehicle.
CEO Elon Musk has often claimed that accidents cannot be the fault of the company, as data it extracted invariably showed Autopilot was not active in the moment of the collision.
At least 26 crashes and 11 deaths appear to involve Tesla’s autopilot feature. While it is true that drivers should have their hands at 10 and 2 with their eyes on the road, you’ve gotta admit that there have been some representations of the autopilot feature as a replacement for human inputs. A last-minute shift from AI to UI is exactly the type of childish loopholing masquerading as brilliance you’d expect from a guy with an Elden Ring build this bad.
Look, I know I’ve made that gag in a prior article where I dunked on Musk for being goofy, BUT TWO MEDIUM SHIELDS?
For fear of being labeled a one-trick Tesla with weak windows — this is exactly what you’d expect from a guy who was already on trial for killing someone with a car.
What’s next? A special re-issue of O.J. Simpson’s “If I Did It” with an additional chapter from Elon on how he’d use tweets to manipulate stock prices?
Cartoonish evil gets satirical responses. In the meantime, it may be worth it to consider electric car alternatives that aren’t Teslas. And pay attention to the road, damn it.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by tweet at @WritesForRent.