Tesla, Mobileye Divorce after First Autopilot Death
The promising Autopilot marriage of Tesla and Mobileye is over. Like so many divorces, it has both sides sending out public statements and blaming the other party for the breakdown of the relationship. Unlike many divorces, there’s an unfortunate dead guy involved.
In case you missed it, and no one in the automotive industry did, a Tesla driver using the automaker’s autonomous driving mode died in Florida last month. Investigations are underway at the state and federal levels to see who or what is to blame. Some same the driver was at fault for relying too much on Autopilot, while others say Tesla was at fault for producing a system that can’t deliver what it promises.
Reports say the crash occurred southwest of Gainesville on May 7. A semi made “a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection of a divided highway where there was no traffic light.” The Tesla S drove under the truck’s trailer, and the driver died due to his injuries.
Since Mobileye makes (soon to be “made”) cameras for the Autopilot system, the continued partnership was bound to die with the late driver. It’s possible each is pulling away from the other to make it seem like the opposite half of the equation was at fault. After all, stock markets are watching all of the above.
Depending on what report you read, each side of this technological tragedy are blaming the other for the malfunction and claiming it made the decision to end the arrangement. Elon Musk and Tesla make it sound like it’s their idea — as if they simply want to make the camera themselves or internalize the process of acquiring the necessary pieces.
Meanwhile, Mobileye made a strong statement that they broke it all off because Tesla used their camera for Autopilot in a way the Israel-based camera maker never recommended. Regardless who wins this race to the sacred proving grounds of CYA, neither side shows any signs of wanting to save the marriage.