When a Tesla Autopilot test drive ended up in a fatal crash that killed 40-year-old driver Josh Brown in May, Tesla didn’t immediately disclose the news and waited almost two months before letting the public know of the tragedy.
This questionable delay of the news’ disclosure became the subject of lon Musk’s exchanges over email
with a Fortune writer on Monday, according to Inverse
Fortune argued in its article that the crash has a direct effect on Tesla’s value and believes that the company should have made the information public immediately after the accident. Not giving up on Tesla Autopilot, Musk would rather highlight Autopilot’s safety potential than focus on the accident’s implications on the company’s stocks.
“Indeed, if anyone bothered to do the math, they would realize that of the over 1M auto deaths per year worldwide, approximately half a million people would have been saved if the Tesla autopilot was universally available,” Musk told Fortune via email. “Please, take 5 mins and do the bloody math before you write an article that misleads the public.”
Soon after Fortune published its story, Musk posted a series of tweets denouncing the basis of the article.
He ranted fiery criticisms against Fortune editor Alan Murray, calling the article BS and questioning why no similar correlation was made with other auto companies.
Musk tweeted: “@alansmurray If you care about auto deaths as material to stock prices, why no articles about 1M+/year deaths from other auto companies?“
The first reported autonomous driving technology crash involved Tesla’s Model S, which was reportedly traveling perpendicular to a tractor trailer when the latter tried to cross the road to the other side.
Tesla explained in its blog that the Autopilot failed to detect the vehicle because neither Autopilot or the driver were able to notice the tractor trailer’s white side. The company points out that it was the first fatality in 130 million miles of logged Autonomous driving.
It is still unknown if the crash will indeed have a major effect on Tesla’s stocks as speculated by Fortune. For now, Musk just wants to concentrate on improving the technology.