Tesla has reiterated that drivers using Autopilot mode remain safer than those who don’t. The new disclosure came as the automaker continues to deny reports from Fortune that it misled investors and the public by taking too long to reveal details of a fatal accident involving one of its customers who was in Autopilot.
The carmaker refuted claims that it acted improperly by not revealing details of the crash until an investigation was made public, and today — in response to what it described as Fortune’s “fundamentally incorrect” reporting — it said that autopilot mode remains safer than regular drivers.
In a long press statement, Tesla argued that one accident doesn’t make auto pilot unsafe:
That Tesla Autopilot had been safely used in over 100 million miles of driving by tens of thousands of customers worldwide, with zero confirmed fatalities and a wealth of internal data demonstrating safer, more predictable vehicle control performance when the system is properly used.
That contrasted against worldwide accident data, customers using Autopilot are statistically safer than those not using it at all.
That given its nature as a driver assistance system, a collision on Autopilot was a statistical inevitability, though by this point, not one that would alter the conclusion already borne out over millions of miles that the system provided a net safety benefit to society.
Tesla paid tribute to Brown in a statement last month. While it didn’t name him directly, the firm said it was “beyond saddened by their loss” of “a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community.”
“We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” it added.
The company has taken significant criticism for its handling of the tragic accident, and this new statement on the matter is sure to divide people with its strong stance that, statistically, Autopilot mode can’t prevent all road fatalities.
Tesla went into detail rebutting Fortune’s two articles, claiming that the publication “jumped the gun” on its story and did not wait 24 hours as requested for Tesla to provide its full side of the story.
Fortune, meanwhile, is standing by its reporting. The publication reiterated that it contacted Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk for comment and clarification before running its stories.