Facing increased scrutiny recently about the safety of the Autopilot feature on his company’s cars, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk over the weekend hinted at a coming announcement about a “Top Secret Tesla Masterplan, Part 2.”
Tesla Motors’ original master plan was detailed by Musk in a 2006 blog post describing his goal to “help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy.” In a tweet yesterday morning, Musk said he hoped to publish an update to the plan “later this week.”
Earlier this month, news emerged that a 2015 Tesla Model S was linked to the first known fatal crash involving self-driving car technology, prompting some calls for Tesla to disable the feature. And a Tesla proposal announced last month to acquire the solar energy company SolarCity, co-founded by two of Musk’s cousins and chaired by Musk, has also been criticized in light of Tesla’s and SolarCity’s huge debts.
Musk, who also leads the space transport company SpaceX, has a reputation as a technology visionary. However, he has also been criticized for overpromising and under-delivering, especially on his pledge to produce an affordable, mass-market electric car. Tesla has yet to do so, and its role in last month’s fatal crash of an Ohio man has raised new questions about the safety of its technology.
Customers as ‘Guinea Pigs’
Following news of the May 7 death of Tesla owner Joshua D. Brown, 40, in a collision with a truck in Florida, the advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog published an open letter to Musk calling on his company to disable the self-driving Autopilot feature on its cars immediately until it can be shown to meet highway safety standards.
“One of the most troubling aspects of Tesla’s deployment of autopilot is the decision to make the feature available in so-called Beta…