Some media stories have been implying that Tesla's autopilot is at fault for three recent accidents involving summons, autopilot, or traffic aware cruise control (TACC). Although the software likely worked as written in all these cases, different conclusions can be reached for each incident. The first accident was the accidental summons command where the Tesla driver likely thought he was placing the car in park but inadvertently pushed the park button twice and placed the car in summons- move forward mode. Solution: Tesla very quickly realized the lesson from this incident and upgraded the software so that a press of "forward" or "reverse" on the touchscreen is needed to activate the summons command that was set up by a double-press of the park button. This solution is likely a solid fix for a problem that would otherwise reoccur, because it is just too easy to double-press the park button when you intended to single-press it, and the additional step of pushing a button on the touchscreen should be sufficient to avoid accidental activation of summons. The second accident involved a driver who saw her Model S approaching a stopped vehicle too quickly and (according to Tesla) touched the brake, which turned off the autopilot system. By the time the driver realized a collision was imminent and braked hard, it was too late to stop. Solutions: Two possible solutions could work together to avoid such an accident. The first would be a refining of the autopilot software to start slowing sooner, in a fashion most drivers would use, when slow or stopped traffic is detected ahead. This solution might be more difficult to implement quickly than imagined, however, because the autopilot's ability to detect the lane the stopped traffic is in becomes more difficult with distance. Perhaps accumulated data regarding the twists and turns of highways can be used in the future to better determine which vehicles ahead are indeed in the driver's lane. The second possible solution is related to the warning sound made when the autopilot disengages. In an airliner, when the autopilot is disengaged, an obnoxious and loud warning sounds. The good news is that the pilot has an autopilot warning cutout button conveniently-located on his control wheel, and the sound can be silenced in less than a second. The challenge for Tesla is finding the best compromise between alerting the driver of an autopilot disconnect and maintaining some peace within the car during the fairly frequent disconnect events that can occur on a highway with marginal markings. My suggestion is to give the driver some choice as to the loudness of the autopilot-disconnect warning, provide a temporary cut in the music when the warning is played, and giving the Tesla driver a convenient warning-silence button so that you need not listen to the warning for more than half a second. That autopilot-warning silence button should be convenient (which means on the steering wheel somewhere), but implemented in a way that inadvertent silencing is not likely). The most recent accident involves a driver who was operating on Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) and hit a van that was parked on the side of the road with a good portion of the van extending into the traffic lane. The driver is quoted as saying that TACC worked fine a thousand times before and stopped as needed, why didn't it work this time? The answer is likely that TACC saw the traffic the Tesla was following turn and pass safely by the van and assumed that this traffic was the pertinent traffic to base speed information upon, up until the point where collision with the van became imminent, and at that time the ability to advise the driver to stop and the driver to react quickly enough was insufficient. Solution: I would categorize this accident as a driver education issue. The driver assumed that the Tesla would stop if an obstacle lay ahead, and the Tesla assumed that since the driver was in charge of steering (lane-keeping was turned off), the driver would avoid the van by swinging around it, as the traffic ahead had done. The traffic ahead could swing into the other lane because of an absence of traffic in that other lane, but the Tesla driver was not so lucky with his traffic situation. As TACC and lane-keeping improve, perhaps TACC will evaluation traffic in the other lane to see if a swing to avoid an obstacle is truly possible. That's not the current state of the software, however, and in this case the driver made assumptions about TACC which weren't correct. The best solution in the near term is driver education so that drivers understand the limitations of TACC. I suspect if the full autopilot including lane-keeping had been engaged, the autopilot would have realized that an obstacle lay ahead and since the autopilot is not permitted to swing into the other lane on its own, the Tesla would have stopped in time. Thus, TACC and autopilot would likely have given different solutions, and drivers need to understand the responsibilities involved in steering the car with TACC engaged. Summary: Tesla autopilot is still in beta version. Since we all love our gorgeous Teslas and don't want them dinged, we need to anticipate the marginal situations that may be at the limits of what autopilot can do and manually prevent the vehicle from progressing so far into the situation that the outcome becomes questionable. Of the three accidents, I feel the most empathy for the driver of the summons accident, because I could see myself in those same shoes. Fortunately, Tesla has provided a solid fix to that type of setup for an accident, and it need not happen again. Let's stay on our toes and avoid situations which can push our own Teslas into those marginal situations where the outcome is unknown with the current state of development of the product.