Musk Goes Barnacle-Busting, Fixes Crash Coverage


As of late, Elon Musk has been focusing heavily on Tesla’s efficiency – both on the plant floor and within its supply chain. The latter stems from an issue that Musk referred to as a “Russian nesting doll” of suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors in an internal email.

Musk feels that this abundance of middlemen had led to inefficiency and a lack of accountability.  So, in addition to reviewing and firing a number of suppliers, or what he referred to as - “a lot of barnacle removal,” he’s also placing a unique filter on supplier qualifications.

Going forward, for Tesla to retain or add a supplier, that company will need to be vouched for by a Tesla employee. Musk feels that if employees have to put their reputation on the line, supplier recommendations will decline and those that remain will be motivated to please.  

Moving from supply chain to quality control, Tesla also announced that it will begin releasing quarterly Autopilot safety reports. Apparently, the aforementioned CEO has become frustrated with “misleading” media coverage related to Tesla vehicle crashes that occur while in Autopilot mode.

Musk argues that the coverage either misleads users into thinking that Tesla’s Autopilot makes the vehicle fully autonomous, which it doesn’t or leads them to use the option less, which actually makes the vehicle less safe.

This strategy would seem to mesh with the dip in sales that followed a fatal Model X crash last month. The driver of the electric SUV ignored visual and audible warnings before his vehicle hit a concrete divider.

According to Musk, these reports will help combat the misconceptions surrounding Autopilot and keep drivers better informed.

Tesla has often cited a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that claims Autopilot-equipped Teslas are 40 percent less likely to crash than those driven by humans. The NHTSA said this comparison didn’t take into account whether the driver engaged the Autosteer function.

Fully autonomous Tesla vehicles are in development and could hit the road late next year.

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