LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Tesla Model 3 stands out for its minimalist design, but one of its key features is getting renewed attention: the Autopilot system.

The system, which works to stay in the lanes when deployed, is not supposed to replace a human driver.

“The probability of an accident with Autopilot is less,” said Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO to “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King.

Less likely, but not impossible.

On March 13, a deadly crash involving a Tesla Model X SUV unfolded on the 101 Freeway near Mountain View in Silicon Valley. It was there that Walter Huang, 38, was killed. At the time of the crash, the vehicle was operating on Autopilot mode.

When asked if there was a defect with the system, Musk told King: “The system worked as described, which is that it is a hands-on system. It is not a self-driving system.”

A week after the accident, Tesla had announced that the driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive.

Also, Tesla said, “the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision.”

The release of that information angered federal officials who were still conducting their own investigation.

But as Musk points out, “We’ve always released our results,” adding, “The NTSB, they take a lot of time to continue an investigation. We can’t wait for a year to release information.”

Musk said: “It’s important to emphasize we will never be perfect. Nothing in the real world is perfect. But I do think, long-term, it can help reduce accidents by a factor of 10 so there are 10 fewer fatalities and
tragedies and serious injuries, and that’s a really difference.”


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