Telsa’s CEO Elon Musk is currently in defense mode, as news regarding a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation around a fatal accident involving Telsa’s auto-pilot technology, has hit. Musk continues to remain firm in supporting his company’s self-driving software.
According to Reuter, there seemed to be quite a delay in how the regulators (first), and then the general public (second), learnt of the crash. The accident occurred on May 7th, and Reuters states that Telsa did not notify regulators of this incident until May 16th, with the NHTSA not informing the public on its investigation until June 30th. Reuters also made a point, stating that Telsa gathered $1.46 billion, via an offering in stock to the public on May 18th and 19th, prior to the company’s internal investigation ending, the final week of May.
Telsa informed Reuters that they were not required to disclose information on the incident or even the possible investigation, prior to the stock sell in May. Later on, Musk stated to Fortune that holding back on disclosure of the accident was “not material” to Telsa via an article written by Carol Loomis, who had noted that withholding the information assisted Musk, financially.
MSN reported that eleven days after Brown died, Musk and Telsa together (about one fourth Musk, and three-fourths Telsa) sold over $2 billion of the company’s stock, to the public, via a price tag of $215 each share; and at that point, still did not release anything about the fatal auto-pilot incident to the public, and the fact that a man had died using the same technology that the company has worked so very hard to promote as both important and safe.
Musk hopped on Twitter July 5th, and tweeted to the editor of Fortune, Alan Murray, stating the article was incorrect.
Musk then sent an email to Fortune, stating that the company’s auto-pilot software is a positive thing, that would save many lives, if it was a feature within all cars. He goes to state that there are over one million auto deaths each year, globally, and if Telsa’s auto-pilot technology was available in all vehicles, that would save about half a million people.
This situation is far from over, as videos continue to surface around Telsa’s autopilot technology, involving minor crashes.