Tesla, Inc.: Managing Risk in the Autopilot Program
Electric automaker Tesla’s Autopilot technology aims to make driving safer and more convenient. Consumer misuse, however, and numerous vehicle collisions contradict Tesla’s goal. As Tesla continues to release new Autopilot updates to the public, concerns regarding the system remain. How should Tesla proceed with respect to consumer safety, consumer perceptions, and its beta testing model?
1. To highlight the conflict that arises as a company pursues an innovation-at-all-costs strategy,
prioritizing innovation speed over safety;
2. To provide an example of how regulation lags behind innovation, and as a result, the responsibility of companies to determine acceptable levels of risk and safety measures;
3. To encourage discussion regarding if and/or to what extent companies are responsible for managing consumer perceptions;
4. To demonstrate how consumer misuse of technology can impact a company and evaluate how a company should respond;
5. To encourage discussion around public beta testing practices, particularly when the beta can impact members of the general public not involved in the beta test.