Autonomous vehicular control is a technology still in its infancy. The kinks, as it were, are still being worked out.

Consider this, then, a friendly reminder that if you are using one of Elon Musk’s AI systems, either at 18,000 miles per hour 350 miles above the earth’s surface, or at a lesser but still high speed on a twisty road north of Houston, please be ready to take the wheel.

[Harris County Constable Mark] Herman has said he believes no one was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. One of the men killed in the accident was found in the front passenger’s seat and the other was in the back seat, he said.

Mr. Herman added that he didn’t believe a driver could have moved into the front passenger’s seat or back seat after the crash to try to escape the vehicle. He said the two individuals in the car were 69 and 59 years old.

Oh, and one more tiny thing. Well, a few more tiny things: If you are going to let your Tesla drive itself while you sit in the passenger’s seat, which is a thing you should absolutely not do under any circumstances, at the very least please ensure you have upgraded to the latest version of the relevant software, and drive only on roads where that software can work. Oh, one last thing: Please make sure Autopilot is actually turned on before you rely on it in any way.

Musk tweeted, “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled.” The car didn’t have the upgraded version of the driver-assistance system that the company calls “full self-driving,” he added…. Mr. Musk also said that for a driver to activate the basic version of the company’s driver-assistance feature a road must have lane lines, which he said aren’t present where the accident took place.

Not exactly the most regretful statement in the wake of two deaths, but they did, after all, happen in Texas, rather than in China.

Tesla Inc apologised to Chinese consumers for not addressing a customer’s complaints in a timely way…. An unhappy customer by clambered atop a Tesla at the auto show to protest the company’s handling of her complaints about malfunctioning brakes.

Videos that went viral on Monday showed a woman wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “The brakes don’t work” and shouting similar accusations while staff and security struggled to restore calm….

Tesla said on Monday that the woman was a vehicle owner who had been involved in a collision earlier this year. It cited “speeding violations” for the crash, adding in a social media statement that it had been negotiating with her about returning the car, but the talks had stalled over a third-party inspection.

While the specifics and circumstances of Saturday’s accident remain uncertain and under investigation, one thing is clear: Nothing burns quite like an Elon Musk product (which is all the more reason not to crash one).

The NTSB said on Twitter that it was sending two people to investigate, adding that its probe would focus on the vehicle’s operation and the fire that local officials said engulfed the car for roughly four hours…. The prolonged fire after this weekend’s Tesla accident rekindles questions about the flammability of lithium-ion batteries that have become a concern for regulators and car makers as hybrid and electric vehicles using them become more numerous. If damaged, the high-voltage batteries used in electric vehicles can reignite even after firefighters extinguish a blaze because of energy that remains in some cells, according to the NTSB.

Elon Musk Weighs In on Fatal Tesla Crash as Safety Officials Investigate [WSJ]
Tesla apologizes after customer protested at autoshow, to share car data with Chinese regulator [Reuters]

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