Tesla Barks Back At Mobileye’s ‘Inaccurate’ Claims That Autopilot Safety Concerns Prompted Breakup

As anyone who's ever been in a committed relationship that eventually ended can attest, breakups aren't always smooth or amicable. The same goes in the business world. Proof of that is playing out right before our very eyes as Tesla Motors and Mobileye engage the media in a game of he-said-she-said over why the two parted ways. According to Tesla, it has nothing to do with safety concerns related to the automaker's Autopilot technology, as Mobileye indicated to the press a day earlier.

From Tesla's perspective, Mobileye is acting like a scorned ex-lover and ticked at the automaker's decision to use its own vision system in future versions of Autopilot, a self-driving vehicle technology that's intended to assist (not replace) the human driver. As a result, Tesla says Mobileye "attempted to force Tesla to discontinue this development, pay them more and use their products in future hardware," a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

Tesla Model S

Just yesterday, Mobileye chief technology officer Amnon Shashua went on record with a different account of what went wrong between the two firms and why it chose to leave Tesla. Shashua blamed the parting on uneasiness over Tesla "pushing the envelope in terms of safety," adding that Autopilot "is not designed to cover all possible crash situations in a safe manner."

"No mater how you spin it, [Autopilot] is not designed for that. It is a driver assistance system and not a driverless system," Shashua added.

Mobileye was providing its EyeQ system-on-chip (SoC) to Tesla to aid its semi-autonomous Autopilot system used in its Model S and Model X electric vehicles. After the breakup, Mobileye announced a new partnership with Delphi for a next generation self-driving system for cars.

Tesla and its Autopilot technology are being closely watched by regulators and safety agencies, especially after a driver of a Model S died in an accident in May from crashing into a tractor-trailer in Florida. Autopilot was engaged at the time, though both it and the driver failed to spot the tractor-trailer in front of the vehicle. The brakes were never applied.