Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Tesla With Autopilot in Utah Collides with Truck Stopped at Light

Tesla With Autopilot in Utah Collides with Truck Stopped at Light

Tesla's shares fell by 5% afterwards.

News of the crash came as a top Tesla official who had been the main technical contact with USA safety investigators left the company to join rival Waymo.

The Tesla Autopilot system was engaged when a Tesla Model S sedan was crushed as it rammed into a stopped truck at 60 miles per hour in Utah last week, the driver has told police. Picture taken May 11, 2018.

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Doug Field, a senior vice president, was relegated to managing the company's engineering and production back in April after Elon Musk assumed the duty of managing Model 3 production by announcing the move via a tweet.

Over the past seven months, Tesla has lost at least nine employees at the senior management level or higher, and had one go on a leave of absence.

He added: "The number of sort of third-party contracting companies that we're using has really gotten out of control, so we're going to scrub the barnacles on that front".

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Field was charged with overseeing development of new models, including the Model 3 sedan that is plagued with production delays.

Tesla faces a slew of other issues, from increased skepticism over its finances to safety probes by regulators. The company now employees more than 10,000 people at its main auto assembly plant in Fremont, and its corporate jobs site lists hundreds of openings in Fremont for everything from engineers, to data analysts, to product quality inspectors.

The semi-autonomous Tesla Autopilot, meanwhile, remains under siege from critics, prompting Tesla CEO Elon Musk to fire back and defend the technology.

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The driver revealed that the vehicle was in Autopilot mode at the time, marking the incident as another Tesla self-driving accident.

"This is false", Musk wrote. Eyetracking rejected for being ineffective, not for cost. "Approx 4X better than avg", Musk said.

Tesla confirmed the contents of the email after they were reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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The former Tesla executive began at Waymo last Monday and will work on a variety of self-driving auto safety issues in his new role, the Journal reported. Earlier this month, he said during a call with analysts, "When there is a serious accident, it is nearly always, in fact, maybe always the case, that it is an experienced user". It was the latest accident involving a Tesla.

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