Tesla says Mobileye balked after learning carmaker to make own cameras

Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:39pm EDT
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) on Thursday said its former camera supplier Mobileye (MBLY.N: Quote) disparaged the safety of Tesla's assisted driving technology Autopilot after learning the carmaker was developing its own vision system.

Once Mobileye learned Tesla would be using its own vision system in upcoming versions of Autopilot, a semi-autonomous technology that helps vehicles steer, it "attempted to force Tesla to discontinue this development, pay them more and use their products in future hardware," a Tesla spokeswoman said.

Tesla's comments came a day after Mobileye Chairman Amnon Shashua told Reuters the company had broken ties with Tesla because Autopilot was "pushing the envelope in terms of safety," prompting Tesla to respond that it "continuously" educated drivers that they should be prepared to take control of the car.

Tesla's strong defense of Autopilot underscores the huge stakes in the race to perfect self-driving and partially self-driving systems and the need to assure consumers and regulators that the innovations are safe.

Mobileye did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Tesla's Thursday charges.

The Autopilot system has been under intense scrutiny since the death of a Tesla driver in May whose Model S crashed into a tractor-trailer in Florida while Autopilot was engaged.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating Autopilot since June.

A Chinese man sued Tesla in China in July, saying Autopilot caused his son to crash into a street-sweeping vehicle. Tesla said there was no way to know whether Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident, due to damage to the car.

Tesla's spokeswoman called the statements made by Mobileye's Shashua "inaccurate."   Continued...

Signage is displayed outside of Tesla Motors before the Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery event in Hawthorne, California April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon