It took him 24 hours to come clean.
New technologies are always the subject of scrutiny, especially those in the autonomous and semi-autonomous realm. And this past Sunday, a Tesla Model S driver was involved in an accident in Minnesota where he rolled off the road and ended upside in a marsh. The driver, a one David Clark, quickly blamed Tesla’s Autopilot for the crash. But now he’s recanted that, and put the blame solely on himself, according to Electrek. Why did Clark point the finger at Tesla initially? Because, according to him, he was “shook up” following the ordeal.
Originally saying the Autopilot caused the car to speed up before rolling over, he now says he disengaged the Autopilot when he pressed on the accelerator just before the crash. He rightfully admitted his mistake in an email to the local sheriff, who also at first blamed the Autopilot because (and why wouldn’t he?) believed Clark at his word. “To the best of my recollection I had engaged the autopilot system but then I had disengaged it by stepping on accelerator,” Clark starts off. “I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into. I believe we started to make the turn but then felt the car give way and lose its footing like we hit loose gravel.
“That was the feeling that I was trying to describe to you (the sheriff) that I had lost control of the vehicle. The next thing I know tall grass is whipping past the windshield and we were traveling at an odd angle in the ditch and then flipped over the right side and ended up on the roof.” Clark further added he’s “truly thankful for the safety features that Tesla had put into this car that saved all 5 of us from serious injury.” The lesson learned from this is that human drivers still need to pay attention. Semi-autonomous and autonomous are not the same.