Google Self-Driving Car Exec Talks Fatal Tesla Crash
Google has finally broken its silence on the fatal Tesla crash that killed 40-year-old Joshua Brown. And it seems Google is blaming both Brown and Tesla for what tragically occurred.
In an interview with Bloomberg, John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, called what happened on May 7, 2016 in Williston, Fla. “a tragedy.” But Krafcik also pointed out that Brown was “one of probably a hundred or so people who died that day in automotive fatalities, in the U.S. alone” and that the Tesla Model S involved in the accident “wasn’t a self-driving car.”
Here’s a portion of the interview where Krafcik focuses on the semi-autonomous ability of Tesla Autopilot and how humans trust it too much:
What can be learned from the Tesla fatality?
“Well, first of all, it’s a tragedy. I mean, Joshua Brown lost his life. A couple of key points, though. One is, he was one of probably a hundred or so people who died that day in automotive fatalities, in the U.S. alone. You know the statistics: 35,000 fatalities, up 7 percent from the year prior. Globally, it’s over 1.2 million. It’s as if a 737 was crashing every hour of every day all year. From a macro standpoint, it’s a very, very big problem.
“But we need to make sure we’re using the right language when we talk about what happened with that accident, because that wasn’t a self-driving car, what we refer to as an L4, or fully autonomous car. That was a car with traffic-aware cruise control and a lane-keeping function - an L2, where, for better or worse, it was the responsibility of the driver to be cautious. We, as humans, are fallible creatures. [The crash] confirms our sense that the route to full autonomy, though much harder, is the right route. And we’ve learned from experience what happens when you put really smart people with really clear instructions inside a car with capabilities like that Tesla one.