Here’s another view: Mr. Brown may be the first casualty of the widespread and potentially dangerous belief that autonomous cars are much closer to being road-ready than they actually are.
Mr. Brown, who died in Florida on May 7, does not appear to have been heeding an important rule in the official instruction manual for the Tesla Autopilot feature he was using: Drivers should keep their hands on the wheel and be ready to resume control of the vehicle at any time.
Instead, he seems to have been answering to a higher authority: Elon Musk, a founder and the chief executive of Tesla Motors.
Mr. Musk is well known for his salesmanship, and used it liberally in promoting Autopilot. “It’s almost twice as good as a person” was one of his claims. Another: A driver could use Autopilot for the roughly 800 miles between San Francisco and Seattle almost “without touching the controls at all.”