Tesla Splits With Camera Supplier Following Crash

Tesla will look elsewhere for camera tech used in its Autopilot system in the aftermath of the first fatal crash involving the system earlier this year.

Mnet 83976 Mobileye

Tesla Motors will look elsewhere for the camera technology used in its Autopilot system in the aftermath of the first fatal crash involving the system earlier this year.

The electric vehicle manufacturer will part ways with Mobileye at the end of their current contract, and the Israeli tech firm suggested that the May 7 crash of a Tesla Model S sedan in Florida sparked the decision.

The car had its Autopilot system engaged but failed to distinguish between the bright sky and a tractor-trailer turning in front of it. The driver, Ohio tech entrepreneur Joshua Brown, was killed.

The accident prompted investigations by federal authorities, but Tesla stressed that Autopilot appeared to be functioning as intended and that drivers should remain attentive and keep their hands on the wheel.

Mobileye officials in part attributed the split to the accident, according to The Wall Street Journal, but also noted disputes over how its technology should be implemented in Tesla vehicles.

Mobileye previously acknowledged its system is unable to detect objects crossing in front of a car but said that a forthcoming camera would include that ability.

“I think in a partnership, we need to be there on all aspects of how the technology is being used, and not simply providing technology and not being in control of how it is being used,” CTO Amnon Shashua said in an earnings call, the Journal reported.

The news prompted a sharp drop in Mobileye's stock price.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, said after officially opening his company's new "Gigafactory" battery plant this week that the company wanted to limit its dependence on outside contractors.

"There’s nothing unexpected here from our standpoint," Musk told USA Today. "We’re committed to autonomy. They’ll go their way and we’ll go ours."

Mobileye said it would continue to provide software upgrades to existing Tesla vehicles that feature its technology. The company works with some two dozen other automakers and recently launched a partnership with BMW and Intel to develop a fully autonomous car within five years.

“There is much at stake here to Mobileye’s reputation and to the industry at large,” Shashua told reporters. “We think that that’s not in the interest of Mobileye to continue with Tesla in that area.”

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