Would you trust your car to drive itself ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Steve Jurvetson
Joshua Brown died when the Tesla Model S self-driving vehicle he was in collided with a tractor-trailer.
In what is believed to be the first ever fatality involving a self-driving car, the 40-year-old was tragically killed when the vehicle failed to spot a white 18-wheel truck crossing the road and continued at full speed in to the side of it without making any attempt to put on the brakes.
The incident has cast further doubt on the safety of autonomous vehicles however Tesla has moved quickly to provide reassurance by citing the fact that it is only the first time someone has died out of 130 million miles driven by owners of its vehicles.
The self-driving "autopilot" mode of the car in question enables a driver to cruise along with minimal interaction however it is strongly recommended that proper attention still be paid to the road.
In this case Brown was believed to have been watching one of the Harry Potter movies on his DVD player when the accident happened so had not been in a position to react to the oncoming danger.
"Clearly this is a horrible thing, but in the big picture it doesn't affect the technology," said transportation systems analyst Richard Wallace. "But it may affect public perception of the technology, and obviously people have to buy these vehicles."
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