5 Lessons on AI from the Tesla Autopilot Fatality

Unfortunately it takes extreme repercussions for us to feel in our bones, the limitations of our technologies.

Three points :

  1. I have included relevant links about this incident at the end of the blog (incl the AutoPilot v8 with Radar). Informative read
  2. One of my parent died in an automobile accident; so I do know, first hand, the human toll – I do not take this lightly; in fact the reverse is true
  3. And the views expressed in my writing are my own and do not reflect any organization I am part of … now or in the future …


Lesson 1 : Our machines inherit our faults (so far …)

As I pointed out in one of my AI blogs:



Lesson 2 : Many domains are not forgiving to byzantine failures

We are learning that painful lesson whether they are rockets, airplanes or cars. Even though we freak out of snapchat is down for an hour, we can survive that, but not these. The drivers need to understand the downside of technologies and be alert.

Lesson 3 : Mission Critical Systems should have redundancy, over coverage & independency

For example multiple sensor sources & probably independent situational interpretation. I saw the following from somewhere where the Japanese Ministry talks about “correcting the wrong train of thoughts”:

Lesson 4 : Swarm Intelligence

Lesson 5 : This might lead to some level of Standardization & Legalization

  • Standardization of components & protocols
  • Legislation/Standardization of algorithms or semantic behaviors incl image recognition, policies and pragmas …
  • Even driver education and certification to dive autonomous vehicles !



  1. http://fortune.com/2016/07/03/teslas-fatal-crash-implications/
  2. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-hy-tesla-google-20160701-snap-story.html
  3. https://cleantechnica.com/2016/07/02/tesla-autopilot-fatality-timeline-facts/
  4. https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/your-autopilot-has-arrived
  5. https://www.quora.com/How-does-Teslas-Autopilot-work-What-are-the-sensors-that-power-it
  6. http://www.gocomics.com/pcandpixel/2016/07/01
  7. Tesla’s Response to fortune’s Article http://fortune.com/2016/07/06/tesla-fortune-response-autopilot/
  8. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1104892_tesla-autopilot-crash-what-one-model-s-owner-has-to-say
  9. http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/07/technology/tesla-autopilot-name/
  10. http://fortune.com/2016/07/11/elon-musk-tesla-self-driving-cars/
  11. http://fortune.com/self-driving-cars-silicon-valley-detroit/
  12. http://in.reuters.com/article/us-autos-selfdriving-investment-idINKCN0ZS0CQ
  13. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-self-driving-cars-20160710-snap-story.html
  14. http://gizmodo.com/teslas-autopilot-driving-mode-is-a-legal-nightmare-1783280289
  15. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36783345
  16. http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2016/07/14/consumer-reports-tesla-disable-autopilot/87074826/
  17. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/07/17/what-tesla-autopilot-crash-means-self-driving-cars/87219126/
  18. http://fortune.com/2016/07/17/tesla-rethinking-radar-system/
  19. https://www.wired.com/2016/08/hackers-fool-tesla-ss-autopilot-hide-spoof-obstacles/
  20. https://www.autoindustrylawblog.com/2016/08/02/connected-and-autonomous-vehicles-full-speed-ahead-or-tapping-the-brakes/
  21. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/08/10/tesla-model-s-autopilot-china-crash/88510532/
  22. Finally AutoPilot v8 with Radar ! https://www.tesla.com/blog/upgrading-autopilot-seeing-world-radar/



One thought on “5 Lessons on AI from the Tesla Autopilot Fatality

  1. Pingback: Autonomous Vehicles – On the road to a Standardization : 5 Questions | My missives

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