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A Public Letter to Mr. Musk and Tesla For The Sake Of All Tesla Driver's Safety

A Public Letter to Mr. Musk and Tesla For The Sake Of All Tesla Driver's Safety
From my friend, Mr. Pang, a survivor of the Montana Tesla autopilot crash

My name is Pang. On July 8, 2016, I drove my Tesla Model X from Seattle heading to Yellowstone Nation Park, with a friend, Mr. Huang, in the passenger seat. When we were on highway I90, I turned on autopilot, and drove for about 600 miles. I switched autopilot off while we exited I90 in Montana to state route 2. After about 1 mile, we saw that road condition was good, and turned on autopilot again. The speed setting was between 55 and 60 mph. After we drove about another mile on state route 2, the car suddenly veered right and crashed into the safety barrier post. It happened so fast, and we did not hear any warning beep. Autopilot did not slow down at all after the crash, but kept going in the original speed setting and continued to crash into more barrier posts in high speed. I managed to step on the break, turn the car left and stopped the car after it crashed 12 barrier posts. After we stopped, we heard the car making abnormal loud sound. Afraid that the battery was broken or short circuited, we got out and ran away as fast as we could. After we ran about 50 feet, we found the sound was the engine were still running in high speed. I returned to the car and put it in parking, that is when the loud sound disappeared. Our cellphone did not have coverage, and asked a lady passing by to call 911 on her cellphone. After the police arrived, we found the right side of the car was totally damaged. The right front wheel, suspension, and head light flied off far, and the right rear wheel was crashed out of shape. We noticed that the barrier posts is about 2 feet from the white line. The other side of the barrier is a 50 feet drop, with a railroad at the bottom, and a river next. If the car rolled down the steep slope, it would be really bad.
Concerning this crash accident, we want to make several things clear:
1. We know that while Tesla autopilot is on but the driver's hand is not on the steering wheel, the system will issue warning beep sound after a while. If the driver's hands continue to be off the steering wheel, autopilot will slow down, until the driver takes over both the steering wheel and gas pedal. But we did not hear any warning beep before the crash, and the car did not slow down either. It just veered right in a sudden and crashed into the barrier posts. Apparently the autopilot system malfunctioned and caused the crash. The car was running between 55 and 60 mph, and the barrier posts are just 3 or 4 feet away. It happened in less than 1/10 of a second from the drift to crash. A normal driver is impossible to avoid that in such a short time.
2. I was horrified by the fact that the Tesla autopilot did not slow down the car at all after the intial crash. After we crashed on the first barrier post, autopilot continued to drive the car with the speed of 55 to 60 mph, and crashed another 11 posts. Even after I stopped the car, it was still trying to accelerate and spinning the engine in high speed. What if it is not barrier posts on the right side, but a crowd?
3. Tesla never contacted me after the accident. Tesla just issued conclusion without thorough investigation, but blaming me for the crash. Tesla were trying to cover up the lack of dependability of the autopilot system, but blaming everything on my hands not on the steering wheel. Tesla were not interested in why the car veered right suddenly, nor why the car did not slow down during the crash. It is clear that Tesla is selling a beta product with bugs to consumers, and ask the consumers to be responsible for the liability of the bugging autopilot system. Tesla is using all Tesla drivers as lab rats. We are willing to talk to Tesla concerning the accident anytime, anywhere, in front of the public.
4. CNN's article later about the accident was quoting out of context of our interview. I did not say that I do not know either Tesla or me should be responsible for the accident. I might consider buying another Tesla only if they can iron out the instability problems of their system.
As a survivor of such a bad accident, a past fan of the Tesla technology, I now realized that life is the most precious fortune in this world. Any advance in technology should be based on the prerequisite of protecting life to the maximum extend. In front of life and death, any technology has no right to ignore life, any pursue and dream on technology should first show the respect to life. For the sake of the safety of all Tesla drivers and passengers, and all other people sharing the road, Mr. Musk should stand up as a man, face up the challenge to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident, and take responsibility for the mistakes of Tesla product. We are willing to publicly talk to you face to face anytime to give you all the details of what happened. Mr. Musk, you should immediately stop trying to cover up the problems of the Tesla autopilot system and blame the consumers.

1093674775.jpg
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With all due respect, and with the understanding that any serious vehicle accident is traumatic, the fault rests entirely with the driver. The driver must always be in control, or ready to take immediate control. This is clear from all the documentation and common sense. The driver tried to misuse the system to turn it into something it isn't (autonomous driving) and now complains that the system didn't work in a way it wasn't intended to work.

Autopilot is nothing more than a second set of eyes and hands. The primary set of eyes and hands are attached to the driver.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
we found the sound was the engine were still running in high speed.
I don't understand this. Are you sure it wasn't the AC that was running? There is no engine, there is a motor. And if the motor were spinning full speed, the wheels should have been spinning too. Also, if your butt is not in the seat, the seat sensor puts the car in park automatically once the door is opened, so this makes 0 sense to me.
But we did not hear any warning beep before the crash
I don't know why this is relevant. You needed to keep your hands on the wheel and not wait for the warning sound.

I can understand that Tesla doesn't do a great job telling people "keep your hands on the wheel", they only make you click "I acknowledge" about a dozen times when you enable AP, and then each time you activate it they tell you "keep hands on wheel", but still, they could probably do a better job to keep the public more informed.
It happened in less than 1/10 of a second from the drift to crash. A normal driver is impossible to avoid that in such a short time.
If you had your hands on the wheel, there would be no drift. So a normal driver would respond in time.
Also 1/10 of a second means the car moved 8 feet or so. It must have been a REALLY hard pull to the right for the car to move only 8 feet before colliding.
I was horrified by the fact that the Tesla autopilot did not slow down the car at all after the intial crash.
This is a valid point.
Tesla never contacted me after the accident.
I think they only do that when the airbags deploy, I could be wrong.
Tesla just issued conclusion without thorough investigation, but blaming me for the crash.
Is looking at the logs, not a thorough investigation?

Also, didn't the police site you for the accident, making you responsible for it? Or am I confusing the two autopilot accidents with the Model X.
blaming everything on my hands not on the steering wheel.
Well... your hands are supposed to be on the steering wheel. Are you arguing that point?
take responsibility for the mistakes of Tesla product
While I agree that the car did not perform perfectly. It's not supposed to perform perfectly. It's a Level 2 car, not Level 3. The driver is still in full control 100% of the time.
 

JohnSnowNW

Active Member
Feb 13, 2015
2,677
2,996
Minnesota
Sigh... autopilot is not autonomous, you should have had your hands on the wheel and your feet on the brakes.

That being said, didn't Tesla confirm that AP was not enabled? Or was that for the PA crash?

That was for the PA crash. In this instance, not only was AP used improperly from a functional standpoint, it shouldn't have been engaged in this situation at all.

People need to take responsibility for their actions, which this letter clearly shows is not happening.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
And finally, Tesla called BS on a lot of what you wrote

Tesla says that driver didn’t use Autopilot properly in Model X accident in Montana [Full Statement]

Tesla has now issued a statement regarding the accident and claims that the data log shows that the driver didn’t respond to an alert to hold the steering wheel, which they say led to the accident.

and

it happened on a road without a center divider and Tesla doesn’t recommend to use Autosteer in those conditions, which is something the company points out in its statement along with sensors not detecting hands on the wheels after the alert.


Now I can understand some people might claim that Tesla is doing a coverup, since they're the only ones with the logs. It's a plausible argument, I'm not going to take sides. But in this case, I'd be more pressed to believe Tesla than to believe that there was no alert.
 
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Chopr147

Active Member
Apr 3, 2016
1,946
1,470
Wantagh, NY
If what he say's is true that would be very disconcerting at the least. AP suddenly turns right, strikes several posts and continues attempting to accelerate. Almost sounds like someone hacked the X and remotely drove it. This makes no sense to me Mr. Pang and i'm not calling you a liar. Would Tesla cover this up if true. Damn right! I hope there is a better explanation for this. From what we already know it sounded like the driver had been reckless, which is why he was issued a summons.
 

msnow

Active Member
Jul 14, 2015
4,951
2,394
SoCal
And finally, Tesla called BS on a lot of what you wrote

Tesla says that driver didn’t use Autopilot properly in Model X accident in Montana [Full Statement]



and




Now I can understand some people might claim that Tesla is doing a coverup, since they're the only ones with the logs. It's a plausible argument, I'm not going to take sides. But in this case, I'd be more pressed to believe Tesla than to believe that there was no alert.
Still want to know why the motors were still running after the crash and after he got out (if this is true).
Airbags should have deployed if they didn't why?
If the guy has a lawyer he should have advised him to NOT send that letter.
 

Electroman

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,926
9,358
TX
So he drove for 600 miles perfectly fine on AP on a well marked divided highway - which is where Tesla recommends that we use AP - and then gets into trouble in an undivided road, where Tesla recommends not to use it.

Why do I have no sympathy for folks that use AP in situations it should not be? Just use it on highways and enjoy your relaxed drive.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
Still want to know why the motors were still running after the crash and after he got out (if this is true).
My money is on AC, not "engine". The AC/fans sounds like a jet engine sometimes.
Airbags should have deployed if they didn't why?
Airbags don't deploy in all accidents. There was no sudden deceleration, the car kept driving, so I wouldn't expect the airbags to deploy from hitting the wooden posts. If he hit a "wooden" tree, that stopped the car in it's tracks, I would expect the airbags to deploy then.
 

Dangerous Fish

Pilots the Millennium Milkfloat
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2016
2,109
4,747
UK
Without all the facts, all we can do for now is look at the statements provided by Pang and Tesla and draw our own conclusions as to what exactly happened.

Without wanting to accuse Pang of anything untoward, it is a fact that when people are involved in any sort of accident, their recollection of the events leading up to and during the traumatic part of it can become distorted. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a response from Tesla with some more information from the data logs which will make it clear exactly what happened.

I'm also interested to understand how Pang managed to get 600 miles from a charge. Maybe another statement which isn't quite how it sounds?
 

blc1017

MYLR Blue/Black | 5 seats | no tow/FSD | OD 5/23
Jan 1, 2013
185
132
Folsom, CA
Have not gotten my new Tesla with AP yet, so this is a question to those that have it. When we test drove an S with AP, I asked the Tesla specialist who was showing us AP to turn off the music, as it made it difficult to hear the audible beep that occurs when AP is turned on/off. When the AP warning is issued at the time that hands on the wheel haven't been detected, is that just an audible beep? Or audible and some sort of haptic response? If it is just an audible, is it loud enough to hear over music played at a reasonable sound level?
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
Have not gotten my new Tesla with AP yet, so this is a question to those that have it. When we test drove an S with AP, I asked the Tesla specialist who was showing us AP to turn off the music, as it made it difficult to hear the audible beep that occurs when AP is turned on/off. When the AP warning is issued at the time that hands on the wheel haven't been detected, is that just an audible beep? Or audible and some sort of haptic response? If it is just an audible, is it loud enough to hear over music played at a reasonable sound level?
You get 3 warnings for not having your hands on the wheel.

The first is visual only (a small warning box near the bottom of the IC).
If you ignore it, shortly (I forget how long? 30 seconds maybe?) after you go to step 2.
The second, IIRC pauses the music, and beeps at you (no haptic feedback)
If you ignore it, shortly (agan, don't remember), you go to step 3.
The third, are the red-hands-of-death, which turns off your music and makes annoying sounds while slowing your vehicle and turning on your emergency flashers.

The sound is much more distinct from the "AP enabled" ding-dong sound you hear or the AP disabled dong-dong sound.
 
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Matias

Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
3,750
4,939
Finland
Have not gotten my new Tesla with AP yet, so this is a question to those that have it. When we test drove an S with AP, I asked the Tesla specialist who was showing us AP to turn off the music, as it made it difficult to hear the audible beep that occurs when AP is turned on/off. When the AP warning is issued at the time that hands on the wheel haven't been detected, is that just an audible beep? Or audible and some sort of haptic response? If it is just an audible, is it loud enough to hear over music played at a reasonable sound level?

It is only audio, but car pauses music simultaneously, so you definitely hear it (provided that you have normal hearing)
 
You needed to keep your hands on the wheel and not wait for the warning sound.

I can understand that Tesla doesn't do a great job telling people "keep your hands on the wheel", they only make you click "I acknowledge" about a dozen times when you enable AP, and then each time you activate it they tell you "keep hands on wheel", but still, they could probably do a better job to keep the public more informed.

...

If you had your hands on the wheel, there would be no drift.

...

Well... your hands are supposed to be on the steering wheel. Are you arguing that point?

I wonder if the NHTSA investigation is going to conclude that most AP users keep their hands on the wheel at all times, while only a presumably ignorant or reckless minority disobey Tesla's warnings. The results should be interesting.
 
I don't think I fall into either of those categories, but I don't always keep my hands on the wheel. They're near the wheel, but not always on the wheel.

That being said, if I got into accident I'd blame myself, not the car.
I really don't understand this attitude. Supposing you kill someone because your reaction time was too slow to grab the wheel? Would blaming yourself be an adequate response?
 
Couple things.

I will only address the performance of autopilot itself in my comments.

The fact that autopilot veered right is not because it was an undivided road--that's a bit of a secondary talking point that doesn't directly have relevance as to why the car veered right. Not sure exactly where this happened, but it seems the below is a likely spot given the clues above...so I'll take a little bit of liberty and assume this is where it happened for purposes of my comments. It may not actually be the location in this case at hand.
turn.png


If indeed this is where it happened, then it's pretty clear to me what happened. And again, it doesn't have to do with the fact that the road was undivided. Didn't even have to do with the pavement markings.

Take a look at the crest of that little hill. If you've ever gone over a little hill on autopilot, you'll know that the car tends to veer a little bit to the left or right (usually right, at least in the US) depending on the scenario when its view of the upcoming lane lines becomes "distorted" or disappear.

If you combine the crest of this hill with the fact that the road is making a fairly significant turn to the left, then it's easy to see what happened.

When cresting a hill, the car tends to veer right a bit. Combine that with the left turn of the road and you're into those blocks in an instant.

Any driver on autopilot should be extra careful because there are several "warning signs" that should have gone off here:

1. The road is narrow.
2. The road is curvy.
3. The road is hilly.
4. There are obstructions immediately to the side of the road.

These signs, combined with the fact that the oncoming lane is narrow and right next door, all point toward being very alert and having your hands on the wheel ready to take over in a place like this.

Again, I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that this is where it happened, but if you're going to use autopilot in a scenario like this, you should be extra vigilant.

If I were using autopilot here, it'd be more as an expirement, with my hands somewhat tightly holding the wheel and expecting that I'd have to take over frequently, especially for a curve like this.
 
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A Public Letter to Mr. Musk and Tesla For The Sake Of All Tesla Driver's Safety
From my friend, Mr. Pang, a survivor of the Montana Tesla autopilot crash

My name is Pang. On July 8, 2016, I drove my Tesla Model X from Seattle heading to Yellowstone Nation Park, with a friend, Mr. Huang, in the passenger seat. When we were on highway I90, I turned on autopilot, and drove for about 600 miles. I switched autopilot off while we exited I90 in Montana to state route 2. After about 1 mile, we saw that road condition was good, and turned on autopilot again. The speed setting was between 55 and 60 mph. After we drove about another mile on state route 2, the car suddenly veered right and crashed into the safety barrier post. It happened so fast, and we did not hear any warning beep. Autopilot did not slow down at all after the crash, but kept going in the original speed setting and continued to crash into more barrier posts in high speed. I managed to step on the break, turn the car left and stopped the car after it crashed 12 barrier posts. After we stopped, we heard the car making abnormal loud sound. Afraid that the battery was broken or short circuited, we got out and ran away as fast as we could. After we ran about 50 feet, we found the sound was the engine were still running in high speed. I returned to the car and put it in parking, that is when the loud sound disappeared. Our cellphone did not have coverage, and asked a lady passing by to call 911 on her cellphone. After the police arrived, we found the right side of the car was totally damaged. The right front wheel, suspension, and head light flied off far, and the right rear wheel was crashed out of shape. We noticed that the barrier posts is about 2 feet from the white line. The other side of the barrier is a 50 feet drop, with a railroad at the bottom, and a river next. If the car rolled down the steep slope, it would be really bad.
Concerning this crash accident, we want to make several things clear:
1. We know that while Tesla autopilot is on but the driver's hand is not on the steering wheel, the system will issue warning beep sound after a while. If the driver's hands continue to be off the steering wheel, autopilot will slow down, until the driver takes over both the steering wheel and gas pedal. But we did not hear any warning beep before the crash, and the car did not slow down either. It just veered right in a sudden and crashed into the barrier posts. Apparently the autopilot system malfunctioned and caused the crash. The car was running between 55 and 60 mph, and the barrier posts are just 3 or 4 feet away. It happened in less than 1/10 of a second from the drift to crash. A normal driver is impossible to avoid that in such a short time.
2. I was horrified by the fact that the Tesla autopilot did not slow down the car at all after the intial crash. After we crashed on the first barrier post, autopilot continued to drive the car with the speed of 55 to 60 mph, and crashed another 11 posts. Even after I stopped the car, it was still trying to accelerate and spinning the engine in high speed. What if it is not barrier posts on the right side, but a crowd?
3. Tesla never contacted me after the accident. Tesla just issued conclusion without thorough investigation, but blaming me for the crash. Tesla were trying to cover up the lack of dependability of the autopilot system, but blaming everything on my hands not on the steering wheel. Tesla were not interested in why the car veered right suddenly, nor why the car did not slow down during the crash. It is clear that Tesla is selling a beta product with bugs to consumers, and ask the consumers to be responsible for the liability of the bugging autopilot system. Tesla is using all Tesla drivers as lab rats. We are willing to talk to Tesla concerning the accident anytime, anywhere, in front of the public.
4. CNN's article later about the accident was quoting out of context of our interview. I did not say that I do not know either Tesla or me should be responsible for the accident. I might consider buying another Tesla only if they can iron out the instability problems of their system.
As a survivor of such a bad accident, a past fan of the Tesla technology, I now realized that life is the most precious fortune in this world. Any advance in technology should be based on the prerequisite of protecting life to the maximum extend. In front of life and death, any technology has no right to ignore life, any pursue and dream on technology should first show the respect to life. For the sake of the safety of all Tesla drivers and passengers, and all other people sharing the road, Mr. Musk should stand up as a man, face up the challenge to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident, and take responsibility for the mistakes of Tesla product. We are willing to publicly talk to you face to face anytime to give you all the details of what happened. Mr. Musk, you should immediately stop trying to cover up the problems of the Tesla autopilot system and blame the consumers.

1093674775.jpg
1910129431.jpg
image.png
I'm not sure you were driving a Tesla. I saw that you mentioned the car that you were driving had an "Engine" I believe the tesla is missing that component.
 

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