Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Autopilot Not As Safe As Claimed: Mobileye NV (MBLY) Chairman

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) ’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system led to concerns for Mobileye, which decided to end its ties with the EV maker in July. During an interview with Reuters, Mobileye NV (NASDAQ:MBLY) chairman Amnon Shashua said that Tesla is “pushing the envelope in terms of safety” with Autopilot, which can prove to be a letdown for the entire autonomous driving industry.

Tesla’s fiddling with safety norms irks Mobileye

Shashua added that even though Tesla brags about its Autopilot capabilities, it wants drivers to be alert and not take their hands off the steering wheel despite the car being in Autopilot mode. This has left Mobileye confused and irked, according to the chairman of the Israel-based tech firm. Shashua told Reuters that Tesla’s autopilot system is not designed to cover all possible crash situations in a safe manner.

“No matter how you spin it, (Autopilot) is not designed for that. It is a driver assistance system and not a driverless system,” the executive said.

Shashua not happy with Tesla’s response

Tesla claims that Autopilot helps drivers stay in lanes and steer on highways, but the safety of this system was questioned after a fatal crash in May involving a Model S. In a blog post after the accident, the EV firm said the white side of the tractor trailer went unnoticed under a brightly lit sky by both the Autopilot and the driver, and hence, the brake was not applied.

Shashua was not happy after seeing Tesla’s reaction following the deadly crash involving Autopilot in May.

Shashua said, “Long term this is going to hurt the interests of the company and hurt the interests of an entire industry, if a company of our reputation will continue to be associated with this type of pushing the envelope in terms of safety.”

Why the split between Tesla and Mobileye?

Mobileye holds the topmost position in advanced driver assistance systems and entered into a partnership with Tesla for the development of the EyeQ3 sensor technology fitted in the Autopilot. Shashua expressed his displeasure about how its role was merely reduced to providing technology to the EV firm. He said a partnership should provide significant say to both partners rather than his company being relegated to only being a technology supplier.

In July, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Mobileye is lagging behind when it comes to the technology required by the EV firm. Musk said his company was laser-focused on achieving a full self-driving capability. Morgan Stanley analysts seemed to agree as they speculated that Tesla wanted to go its own way, and that this could have led to a split between the two.

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