Tesla Ditches Camera Supplier

The maker of camera technology used in Tesla's Autopilot system will part ways with the electric vehicle manufacturer in the wake of the first fatal accident involving the semi-autonomous system.

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The maker of camera technology used in Tesla's Autopilot system will part ways with the electric vehicle manufacturer in the wake of the first fatal accident involving the semi-autonomous system.

Israel-based Mobileye will no longer supply its visual technology to Tesla after its current contract expires, the company's chief technical officer told reporters.

Mobileye officials indicated that the crash of a Tesla Model S in Florida earlier this year led to the decision, but its chief technical officer also said that the companies disagreed on how its technology should be utilized.

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

“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, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, told reporters that his company was simply continuing a pattern of internalizing its operations.

"There’s nothing unexpected here from our standpoint," Musk told USA Today after officially opening Tesla's massive new battery factory in Nevada. "We’re committed to autonomy. They’ll go their way and we’ll go ours."

The decision, however, comes amid federal investigations of Autopilot after a Tesla driver was killed while the system was engaged. Ohio tech entrepreneur Joshua Brown was traveling along a Florida highway in early May when the car failed to distinguish between a brightly lit sky and a tractor-trailer turning in front of him.

The crash prompted criticism of the Autopilot system, but the company said the car appeared to be working as intended and stressed that drivers should remain attentive and with their hands on the wheel at all times.

Mobileye acknowledged at the time that its system is unable to detect objects crossing in front of a car but said that a forthcoming camera would include that capability.

The company works with some two dozen other automakers and will continue to provide software upgrades to current Tesla models. It recently announced an effort with BMW and Intel to develop fully autonomous vehicles 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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