Tesla Autopilot a Lifesaver?

Amid the sharp criticisms for Tesla’s Autopilot system, one Missouri man is grateful for the assist.

Joshua Neally, a Springfield lawyer, was driving his Model X home one day in late July when he was struck with a stabbing pain in his abdomen, he told Slate. Autopilot helped Neally, 37, navigate through highway traffic to an emergency room 20 miles away.

Doctors say Neally suffered a pulmonary embolism, which could have been fatal.

The driver assist feature has drawn federal scrutiny after a fatal crash in Florida. The Autopilot on a Model S failed to recognize a semitractor-trailer turning left across a two-lane highway. The system — a combination of cameras, radar and other sensors — had trouble distinguishing the white truck against a bright sky, according to Tesla.

CEO Elon Musk last week said the new, improved Autopilot “blows my mind.” The company has focused on developing proprietary mapping software, among other improvements.

The company also announced it expects to spend about $1.1 billion in payments and expenditures in the third quarter, as it builds the “Gigafactory” in Nevada and expands factory production for new vehicles. Reuters reports that figure may be up to one-third of Tesla’s available cash.

The company is also trying to acquire SolarCity for $2.6 billion. Critics say the company — particularly Musk — may be stretched too thin.

Rival BMW even tweaked Tesla in a new ad, referring to the EV maker’s history of missed deadlines for delivering new vehicles. The Model 3, a $35,000 sedan, is scheduled for release late next year.

The video shows a woman walking past two Tesla-like charging stations, empty in a parking lot. The announcers notes the long waits for electric vehicles.

The woman hurries past the empty stations to find her silver BMW 330e plug-in hybrid waiting. “It’s the car you’ve been waiting for,” the ad concludes, “without the wait.”




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