Editor's note: Our story was based on the premise that the advanced radars discussed below were intended for autonmous cars. GM contacted IEEE Spectrum after publication to say that the radars are not intended for autonomous vehicles. The FCC filings referenced in the IEEE Spectrum story are not part of our autonomous vehicle development program. They are related to further advancement of technologies featured on our vehicles today. General Motors (GM) is likely building a fleet of 725 self-driving taxis for its partnership with Lyft, with an intended launch date of January 2019, according to documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
On 7 May, a Tesla Model S was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. At the time of the accident, the vehicle was driving itself, using its Autopilot system. The system didn't stop for a tractor-trailer attempting to turn across a divided highway, and the Tesla collided with the trailer. In a statement, Tesla Motors said this is the "first known fatality in just over 130 million miles [210 million km] where Autopilot was activated" and suggested that this ratio makes the Autopilot safer than an average vehicle. Early this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told reporters that the Autopilot system in the Model S was "probably better than a person right now."