The government investigation into the fatal Tesla Autopilot crash was unnecessary, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s second quarter investor call.
“We’re not clear why they opened an investigation, because they had all the information before the investigation,” Musk said. “There wasn’t really anything more to learn.”
In May, 40-year-old Joshua Brown died after his Model S crashed into a semi truck. A preliminary report found that the car was indeed using Autopilot, and it was going 9 mph faster than the speed limit at the time of the crash.
Analysis of the crash flooded news sites. Most dramatically, it inspired a writer at Fortune to opine a story saying that Tesla should have told investors about the crash right after it happened, not a month later. Musk responded that the writer, and people who thought like him, should “do the bloody math,” before writing, because, he claimed, Autopilot would save half a million lives.
The Musk and Fortune feud went further, with Musk claiming that Fortune is sponsored by oil companies. Later in the month, the Securities and Exchange Commission did indeed open up an investigation into whether Tesla should have told shareholders about the crash.
It’s hard to blame him for being defensive. There will always be accidents, and Musk emphasized that during the investor call.
“Last year there were 35,000 automotive deaths in the U.S.,” he said. “How many did you read about?”