Mobileye Ended Tesla Partnership Over Envelope Pushing Autopilot, Safety Concerns

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Mobileye parted ways with Tesla not long after the first death was reported of a driver using Tesla’s Autopilot system. At the time, Mobileye didn’t exactly explain its reasoning (although it was pretty obvious) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that Mobileye simply couldn’t keep up with this company’s rapid advancements in technology for its vehicles and that “our parting ways was inevitable.”

This week, Mobileye chief technology officer Amnon Shashua has shed additional light on why it decided to leave Tesla at the altar. Shashua accused Tesla of “pushing the envelope in terms of safety” and that Autopilot “is not designed to cover all possible crash situations in a safe manner.”

Shashua seems to be falling in line with publications like Consumer Reports that suggest Tesla has simply oversold the capabilities of the system, and calling it “Autopilot” gives drivers the wrong impression. “No matter how you spin it, [Autopilot] is not designed for that. It is a driver assistance system and not a driverless system,” added Shashua in an interview with Reuters.

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Mobileye’s EyeQ system-on-a-chip is used in conjunction with the semi-autonomous Autopilot system found in Tesla’s Model S and Model X electric vehicles. Following its breakup with Tesla, Mobileye announced a new partnership with Delphi for a next generation self-driving system for cars.

For its part, Tesla says that it has been completely transparent about Autopilot’s capabilities, indicating in a statement:

Since the release of Autopilot, we’ve continuously educated customers on the use of the features, reminding them that they’re responsible to keep their hands on the wheel and remain alert and present when using Autopilot. Drivers must be prepared to take control at all times.

With that being said, Tesla is once again in the headlines for all the wrong reasons following another deadly crash involving a Tesla Model S. A driver in China was killed when his Model S struck a stopped truck on the highway at a high rate of speed. 

There are no signs that the brakes were applied before the crash occurred. The vehicle was also so badly damaged that Tesla was unable to retrieve data remotely that would indicate whether Autopilot was enabled or not at the time.