By on July 6, 2016

press01-model-x-driving

A rollover crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike doesn’t generate many headlines, unless it’s a Tesla Model X operating in Autopilot mode.

After last week’s revelation of a fatal May crash involving Autopilot, another incident involving the semi-autonomous technology is the last thing the automaker needs, but that’s what happened on July 1, according to the Detroit Free Press.

A Model X owned by Southfield, Michigan art dealer Albert Scaglione crashed outside of Bedford, Pennsylvania, about halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The vehicle, which the owner said was in Autopilot mode, left its lane, hit the guardrail, rebounded across both lanes and overturned after striking the concrete median.

Neither the owner or his son-in-law were seriously hurt in the crash.

While the Autopilot system in the vehicle involved in the May 7 crash in Florida failed to recognize a truck crossing the highway, there’s no evidence at this time that the Autopilot in Scaglione’s Model X contributed to the crash. Still, bad PR is bad PR, and for Tesla it comes at a very bad time.

Besides the questions raised about the safety of the Autopilot system, the automaker recently missed its second quarter vehicle delivery target of 17,000 units. Tesla delivered 14,370 vehicles in the last quarter, less than the previous quarter’s tally of 15,510 units. The company blames the shortfall on a June production ramp-up that saw many vehicles built too late to count as second-quarter deliveries.

A failure to meet targets casts doubt on any company’s abilities. Tesla claims it wants to produce between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year, and have output reach 500,000 units per year in 2018. During that time — the automaker has to shoehorn the Model 3 — a high-volume, lower-cost model, into its assembly operations.

Company founder and CEO Elon Musk’s recent bid to purchase solar energy giant SolarCity at such a critical time for the automaker was criticized by shareholders. That move caused jittery investors to put downward pressure on the automaker’s stock.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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58 Comments on “Bad News for Tesla: Another Autopilot Crash and a Missed Production Target...”


  • avatar
    ltcmgm78

    Wow. This kind of stuff could bankrupt a company that had to pay claims.

  • avatar
    islander800

    Do you think Saint Elon will now stop running off at the mouth about how his system is twice as safe as a human driver?

    I don’t think so – like Trump, he can’t help himself. And like Trump, he may find out that his words have consequences – as in, multi-million-dollar law suits for misrepresentation and wrongful death.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Really…you had to mention Trump!
      JesusHchrist! Can we make car sense without this garbage?
      Really bad.
      Really.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Hmmmmm. Is Elon Musk like Donald Trump? Let’s go to the data:

        – Did Elon Musk inherit his business from his family? No
        – Does Elon Musk get painted orange every morning? No
        – Is Elon Musk an attention whore? Kind of, Yes
        – Is Elon Musk a serial rapist? No. There’s no evidence of it.
        – Is Elon Musk the darling of every uneducated loser in life? No.

        So I would say from a purely impartial perspective that: No, Elon Musk is not like Trump. But others can disagree, and I respect their right to hold an opinion.

        • 0 avatar
          Ihatejalops

          @VoGo

          Elon didn’t actually start Tesla but actually bought it. Still a rich guys play thing.

          Yawn. What do the Tesla hi-performance drugs actually feel like? I need some of those so I can be out of this world.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          What? Are you just a total, miserable a$$hole?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          “Is Elon Musk a serial rapist?”

          Now why did you have to go and bring Bill Clinton into the debate.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Birds of a feather…

            http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/436890/did-donald-trump-and-jeffrey-epstein-rape-13-year-old-girl

          • 0 avatar

            VoGo, birds of a feather? You do realize that Bill Clinton flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane more than two dozen times and visited Epstein’s private island as well, don’t you?

            I’m not thrilled about elites in general, but these days our elites are kinda trashy. Bad example. Very bad.

            I can understand why principled people on both sides of the partisan divide might want to abstain in this year’s presidential election. If you’re on the left, Hillary is a corrupt crony capitalist, and if you’re on the right, Trump is no constitutionalist or libertarian.

            I’d like to believe that the republic would survive, no matter who gets elected president, but I have my fears.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Really…you had to mention Trump!
        JesusHchrist! Can we make car sense without this garbage?
        Really bad.
        Really.”

        Agreed. Luke42, I see your point now.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      ‘It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’
      — Sherlock Holmes
      -A Scandal in Bohemia

      My point? We don’t know for sure that Autopilot caused the crash. For all we know, the driver is trying to cover up his own bad driving.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        So much for the scientific process, I guess. A made up character in a book is a lot smarter than every scientist.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          That’s not what he meant and you know it. Scientists would also agree: More data is/are needed.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yes. It’s ridiculous how much time has been wasting actual crash investigation by trained professionals. Time that would be much better spent on debating whether Maserati should share platforms or window switches with Jeep.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          The scientific process waits for data to theorize generally too. You might hypothesize in order to design a test, but hopefully before you get to the point of putting together a scientific theory you have some good data…

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “The scientific process waits for data to theorize generally too. You might hypothesize in order to design a test, but hopefully before you get to the point of putting together a scientific theory you have some good data…”

            Off-topic here. We’re talking about assuming one thing just because a man says it’s so without verifying the facts.
            Still, derekson, it was written by a real man, not an artificial or made-up man. Or have you forgotten that?

            Oh, and according to Tesla, Autopilot was NOT involved in the Pennsylvania crash. NHTSA is following through. We’ll learn the truth, but will it be soon enough?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Autopilot may or may not have had a hand in causing two crashes. Meanwhile, how many human-caused crashes have occured in that same time? I’m not saying that Elon’s claims shouldn’t be taken with a grain of salt, just that we need more data to form the complete picture.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        I dunno, are there more crashes in the summertime than winter time? Raining or dry out? Crash rates for sunny weather vs. inclement?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Humans are not a new technology being touted as an alternative to actually driving.

        Computer causes crash.

        “But humans crash tooooooooo!”

        C’mon, really? So very weak. Have you no other argument than deflection?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          It’s not deflection when humans have, so far, caused every one of those Autopilot crashes by not paying attention to the road. You may think that aviation autopilot is more autonomous, but it is not. Those planes follow ‘marked highways’ in the sky just as these do on the ground. The pilots still have to be aware of everything going on inside and outside of the plane at all times.

  • avatar

    Is it just me, or are these two statements completely incompatible?

    The vehicle, which the owner said was in Autopilot mode, left its lane, hit the guardrail, rebounded across both lanes and overturned after striking the concrete median.

    …there’s no evidence at this time that the Autopilot in Scaglione’s Model X contributed to the crash.

  • avatar
    balreadysaid

    Maybe autonomous cars aren’t a reality?

    If deaths can be caused by it why would insurance want it? I don’t think this is a technology that belongs in what is on the road today. They can put trains on tracks that efficiently haul goods, people, natural resources. That is what can be autonomous. Something on a track that it can’t leave. Too many variables in daily human activity for autonomous cars to be safe in traffic without a total overhaul of traffic laws, and proceedures.

    I think this is a waste of time and money. People need physical jobs to make the world turn. This takes those very important jobs and turns them into idiot posts. Post your idiot up in position and everything is done for him/her. We need to move in the opposite direction. Makeing life hard makes you learn. Making life easy creates politicians.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “If deaths can be caused by it why would insurance want it?”

      Really? By that logic, insurance wouldn’t want any vehicles on the road whatsoever.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Trains crash too, balready. Many times those crashes are deadly. Wanna know something? Nearly every time it is the human driving the train or a human at the controls of the vehicle it hits OR the human at the dispatcher’s office that causes the crash.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I suggest waiting for more data before assuming the Pennsylvania crash was caused by the Autopilot.

    As for the production target, do you really mean production, or sales? Or both?
    Personally, I think we’re seeing an iPhone-type of event where the expected next new model is causing a slowdown in sales of existing ones in anticipation of buying the latest and greatest.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Ya, Big TRucker, its me again with more anti Tesla crap.

    I guess I never did well enough in my logic classes to reason this statement out: “The company blames the shortfall on a June production ramp-up”

    More production always leads to less output….

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “More production always leads to less output….”

      When you are building for that more production to the point that you’re affecting existing assembly lines? Absolutely!

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        He didn’t say the retooling was the problem.
        He said the actual ramp up was the problem.
        Words have meaning…even if I seldom use correctly…since I am brain damaged and old. But he should.
        And regardless. He should have retooled and increased production earlier IF he was to meet the goals HE promised. And done so on time.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      do the Model S and Model X go down the same assembly line? If so, then a new model launch can absolutely slow things down as the new model runs into inevitable production glitches which also hold up production of the current model.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    self driving cars will have more of these types of accidents, like any other tech it will evolve but I doubt cars were very safe in the first 20 years or commercial jets or pick what you want.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Glad to hear these two survived what sounds like a pretty serious crash. Let’s be honest: Southfield Michigan can’t afford to lose any of its art dealers.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Big trucks silence must mean he is on the phone to his broker with a sell order.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Bad PR: My Tesla tried to kill me by rolling over at highway speeds in Autopilot mode.
    Good PR: My Tesla is stout enough that I wasn’t hurt.

    Self-driving car technology is a new wave with huge potential for those who figure it out properly, but I’d be hesitant to pair such a new technology with a niche fledgling car company that currently has only 2.5 models. It seems like producing viable, desirable luxury electric cars is a big enough achievement that one wouldn’t want to risk the whole venture it by throwing Autopilot into the mix.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      The cut-throat and ruthless auto industry will likely discreetly fund harassing and enormously expensive law suits to chip away at Tesla’s shiny veneer, similar to Peter Thiel bankrolling Hulk Hogan’s takedown of Gawker. There’s boardrooms in Detroit filled with Armani suits who’d like to see Tesla implode, and Autopilot is the first actionable Achilles Heel presented to them.

    • 0 avatar

      hubris

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    And just wait till they start killing pedestrians and bikers.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    As Jim Morrison used to say, “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel…”

    I’d like to meet some of these dingleberries that use Autopilot, and ask them what they do while the car is on Autopilot. They sound like Darwin Award candidates.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Well, I’m glad I didn’t go through with my plans to head to Ohio across the PA Turnpike on Friday. Regardless of which direction this Tesla was going when it flipped, the gawkers would have back up traffic for an extra hour or two.

    Note to self: give Teslas a wide berth.

  • avatar

    That area of the PA Turnpike is quite delightful at 75-85 mph for a fully alert driver in a decent car.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    All this negative press about Tesla makes it seem as if we want them to fail. I know the press has a job to do, but seriously, this is getting ridiculous.

    “Tesla curbs wheel while attempting to auto parallel park. Stock drops 50%! Company may go under tomorrow!”

  • avatar

    Besides the impact, no pun intended, on Tesla, crashes suspected of Autopilot involvement could slow consumer acceptance of autonomous driving technology in general.

    By rolling out something in beta form, before its time, Tesla may have hurt the entire concept of self-driving cars.

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