Shares of Elon Musk’s Tesla plummeted last week following a fatal car crash involving the company’s autopilot system.
CNBC reports that shares in Tesla Inc. plummeted last week after one of the firm’s cars was involved in a fatal car crash while in autopilot mode. Shares dropped below eight percent to their lowest close since December 2016 last week after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that Tesla’s autopilot driver assistance technology was active during a fatal crash.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been praising the company’s autopilot system for some time, claiming that the company will have 1 million automated robotaxis on the road by next year. Others, however, have claimed that Tesla vehicles are nowhere close to fully self-driving and claim that Musk is giving drivers false faith in the vehicles autopilot system, which is similar to advanced cruise control.
The latest Tesla crash involved a Model 3 vehicle and took place in Delray Beach, Florida, appearing to be the third crash of its kind in the U.S. alone. The NTSB stated that a Model 3 vehicle struck a truck connected to a semitrailer on March 1st. According to the report, the roof of the Model 3 vehicle “was sheared off as the vehicle underrode the semitrailer” and the 50-year-old driver was killed.
The NTSB report states:
Preliminary data from the vehicle show that the Tesla’s Autopilot system — an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that provides both longitudinal and lateral control over vehicle motion — was active at the time of the crash. The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision. From less than 8 seconds before the crash to the time of impact, the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel.
A Tesla spokesperson stated that according to the company’s logs, the driver engaged Autopilot just 10 seconds before the accident and “immediately removed his hands from the wheel.” The spokesperson added that “we are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy. Our data shows that, when used properly by an attentive driver who is prepared to take control at all times, drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those operating without assistance.”
Tesla stock has been on the decline since the company faced a fraud lawsuit filed by the SEC, announced job cuts and the closure of Tesla stores nationwide, and has seen its cash position deteriorate rapidly. Tesla’s stock price sits around $204.56 at the time of the writing of this article, a far cry from the $420 figure Musk stated that he would take the company private at.