Tesla sends cease and desist letter over ‘libelous’ self-driving software

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January 20, 2016 in China: Gao Yaning, 23, died when the Tesla Model S he was driving hit a street sweeper on a highway near Handan, a city about 300 miles south of Beijing. Chinese media reported that the autopilot was engaged.

Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died in an autopilot crash in May 2016

May 7, 2016 in Williston, Florida: Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died when the cameras of his Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a spinning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky.

The NTSB found that the truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way and a car driver’s inattention due to an over-reliance on vehicle automation were the likely cause of the crash.

The NTSB also noted that Tesla Autopilot allows the driver of the car to dangerously disengage from driving. A DVD player and Harry Potter movies were found in the car.

March 23, 2018 in Mountain View, California: Apple software engineer Walter Huang, 38, died in an accident on US Highway 101 with his Tesla’s autopilot engaged.

The vehicle accelerated to 71 mph seconds before crashing into a freeway barrier, federal investigators found.

The NTSB, in a preliminary report on the crash, also said data shows the Model X SUV did not brake or attempt to drive around the barrier in the three seconds before the crash in Silicon Valley.

Photos from the crash scene show wreckage on March 23, 2018 in Mountain View, California.

Photos from the crash scene show wreckage on March 23, 2018 in Mountain View, California.

March 1, 2019 in Delray, Florida: Jeremy Banner, 50, died when his 2018 Tesla Model 3 hit a tractor-trailer.

NTSB investigators said Banner activated the autopilot feature about 10 seconds before the crash and the autopilot did not perform any evasive maneuvers to avoid the crash.

April 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas

A Tesla crashed into a tree and caught fire in Texas, killing two men – the car’s owner, Dr. William Varner, and his friend Everette Talbot.

Police said it was apparent no one was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash in Houston’s wealthy The Woodlands neighborhood on April 17.

But Tesla had refuted police claims, saying a bent steering wheel suggested someone was likely sitting in the driver’s seat.

Varner, 59, and Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S – bought second-hand on eBay in January – crashed into a tree and caught fire.

Dr William Varner, 59 (above) and Everette Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S crashed into a tree and caught fire

Dr William Varner, 59, and Everette Talbot (pictured), 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S crashed into a tree and caught fire

Dr William Varner, 59, and Everette Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S slammed into a tree and burst into flames.

May 5, 2021 in Los Angeles, California

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 hit an overturned tractor-trailer around 2:30 a.m. on May 5.

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 hit an overturned tractor-trailer around 2:30 a.m. on May 5.

Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 hit an overturned tractor-trailer around 2:30 a.m. on May 5.

Before his death, the married father of two posted videos on social media of himself driving around in the electric vehicle with no hands on the steering wheel or foot on the pedal.

The crash happened on the 210 freeway near Fontana, California, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

A preliminary investigation determined that Tesla’s partially automated driving system, called Autopilot, “was engaged” before the crash.

A spokesperson added that no firm conclusion had been reached on what exactly caused the fatal crash – the 29th involving a Tesla having been probed by the federal agency the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Mack truck, which the Tesla collided with, had crashed and overturned five minutes earlier, blocking two lanes of the freeway, according to a highway patrol report.

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