Tesla autopilot involved in Model S crash
May 7, 2016, went down in history as the day the first fatality occurred while a car was autonomously driving, and in a Tesla Model S, no less. The driver, 40 year old Joshua Brown, was known to be quite proud of his Tesla, having posted videos of the car in autonomous mode and praising it for having prevented an accident on an interstate at one point.
Unfortunately, as we’re now learning, the electric vehicle’s image sensor system apparently mistook the bright white side of a tractor trailer as for a super bright sky and failed to apply the brakes as the car careened into the side of the trailer. The truck driver, 62 year old Frank Baressi, told the associated press Brown was watching a Harry Potter video as the accident occurred, apparently unaware there was a problem.
However, Baressi is also quoted as saying he never saw the video, only heard it. And Tesla is quick to point out it isn’t possible to watch a video on the car’s touchscreen. No mention of the movie was made in initial police reports.
A preliminary investigation is being launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine if the Model S has some sort of technological deficiency posing a danger to drivers using the self-driving mode. Tesla and founder Elon Musk have expressed their condolences. The company also points out that Tesla cars have successfully managed to safely travel 130 million miles in autonomous mode to date.
All Apple, all the time
Apple was sure busy making headlines yesterday. In addition to the infrared sensor tech we told you about yesterday, Apple got a lot of press over rumors it is working to acquire rival streaming service, Tidal.
Tidal first became known for its premium sound quality, but it took on a whole new reputation once it was purchased by Jay-Z and a cadre of celebrity musicians hopped on board. Since then, the streaming service has struggled with a revolving door of executives, botched exclusive releases, and other problems. Still, it has managed to maintain a fairly strong subscriber base.
And now Apple wants to gobble it up. If Apple is successful, it will get all of Tidal’s exclusive releases and firmly establish itself as the second largest streaming service, right behind Spotify.
Apple vs. Spotify + Sen. (and possible VP) Elizabeth Warren
And Speaking of Apple vs. Spotify, the mudslinging among those two streamers re-engaged in earnest yesterday as Spotify backed up Senator Elizabeth Warren when the politician said Apple was going out of its way to snuff out the competition.
At the heart of the accusation is the fact that Apple takes a 30% cut of subscriptions made through its devices. To mitigate its losses, Spotify charges an extra $3.00 a month, just for people who sign up through their iPhones, iPads, etc. That’s a big premium, and Spotify says it squelches subscriptions, which is unfortunate if true because all one has to do is sign up for a subscription on their computer instead of through Apple’s App store.
Heck you can even use safari or chrome browsers on the iPhone to get around it. Anyway, the pot shots will continue, and it doesn’t look like Apple has any intention of backing down.
Happy thoughts just before your holiday weekend here in the U.S. Please drive safely.
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy a ride through the history of self-driving cars
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