Tesla worker killed in fiery crash may be first 'Full Self-Driving' fatality

Text description: The Washington Post has learned that a Tesla employee may have been killed in a crash while using the company's "Full Self-Driving" feature. The incident occurred in May 2022 in Evergreen, Colorado and was captured on film by a passing driver. The driver, Hans von Ohain, was heading home after a round of golf with a friend when his Tesla Model 3 left the road and struck a tree. The vehicle then caught fire, killing von Ohain.

The "Full Self-Driving" feature was reportedly struggling to navigate the mountain road and had forced von Ohain to take control of the vehicle earlier in the journey. If it is confirmed that the feature was engaged at the time of the crash, it would be the first known fatality to occur while using Tesla's most advanced driver-assistance technology.

The company claims that the technology is still in beta mode and requires drivers to remain attentive at all times. However, the "Full Self-Driving" feature has been linked to several other crashes, including at least two that resulted in serious injuries. Tesla has refused to take responsibility for the crashes, citing that the feature is still in development and that drivers must remain alert at all times.

The incident has raised questions about the safety of advanced driver-assistance systems and the responsibility of automakers to ensure their products are safe. It has also highlighted the need for more rigorous testing and regulation of these technologies before they are released to the public.

The "Full Self-Driving" feature was introduced by Tesla in 2020 and has been marketed as a key part of the company's mission to bring fully autonomous driving to the mass market. However, the feature has been plagued by issues, with many Tesla owners reporting instances of sudden braking, missed road markings, and crashes with parked emergency vehicles.

The incident is currently under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Colorado State Patrol. Both authorities are seeking to determine the cause of the crash and whether the "Full Self-Driving" feature was engaged at the time.

The death of Hans von Ohain has brought attention to the potential dangers of over-relying on partially tested driving technologies and the responsibility of automakers to ensure their products are safe and reliable. It remains to be seen whether the incident will lead to further scrutiny of Tesla and its "Full Self-Driving" feature and whether any changes will be made to how the technology is tested and released to the public.

Read more