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Automakers worry Tesla autopilot crash could have chilling effect on driverless car industry




The inside of a Tesla vehicle is viewed as it sits parked in a new Tesla showroom and service center. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service.
The inside of a Tesla vehicle is viewed as it sits parked in a new Tesla showroom and service center. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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Joshua Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S electric sedan crashed into a tractor-trailer.

It’s posited that the self-driving feature of Brown’s Tesla didn’t detect the white side of the tractor-trailer and therefore did not apply brakes, but many questions remain about what went wrong.

Tesla released the “Autopilot” software update last year for a “public beta phase” to help improve the technology.

Without more evidence about what happened, there is concern that the incident could have a chilling effect on development within the autonomous driving industry. And the story has reignited a discussion in auto circles about what the best way is to proceed forward.

Guests:

Susan Carpenter, Co-host for KPCC’s The Ride, and the former car critic for the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register; she tweets from @CarpenterWheels

Mary Cummings, director of Duke University’s Humans and Autonomy Lab. She testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee in March about the state of self-driving cars.