Tesla's 'Autopilot' engaged in Florida fatal crash

Autopilot was active when a Tesla crashed into a truck killing driver

EnlargeNational Transportation Safety Board

"The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision", the report stated.

In addition, the NTSB determined that the Model S was traveling over the legal speed limit of 68 miles (109 km) per hour (mph) on a highway with a 55-mph (89-kph) speed limit, and neither the system nor the driver made any evasive maneuvers, the agency said. The Model 3 continued to travel on the highway at approximately 1,600 feet before it completely stopped. The first was in Williston, Florida, on May 7, 2016 and the situation was similar - a Tesla Model S drove into truck without driver or system intervention.

The report did not conclude who was at fault for the crash.

In addition to the fatal crashes, there have been multiple other very serious crashes of Tesla vehicles operating on autopilot.

Tesla confirmed the events in a statement, saying they are "deeply saddened" by the accident.

Data showed that the driver of the vehicle, who died in the March 1 incident, activated Autopilot around 10 seconds before it crashed into a semi truck.

The NTSB said in 2017 that Tesla lacked proper safeguards allowing the driver "to use the system outside of the environment for which it was designed and the system gave far too much leeway to the driver to divert his attention".

Preliminary data from the vehicle show that the Tesla's Autopilot system-an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that provides both longitudinal and lateral control over vehicle motion-was active at the time of the crash.

Now, at first glance, it's easy to blame the driver because the vehicle's data tells us that his hands weren't where they should have been.

For all those miles driven, Autopilot, a form of super-cruise-control, is far from ideal. His Model S crashed while Autopilot was active, and authorities said the driver had not tried to control the vehicle in two minutes. Yet rather than pushing for perfection, the paper argues that the system's imperfections may be what keeps drivers attentive. It's also not created to work on certain roads, and drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

The question now for Tesla and its customers is whether the potential consequences of flaws outweigh the alleged benefits.

Tesla shared vehicle data logs with the NTSB shortly after the March 1 crash, the company spokesperson said.

Tesla has since phased in a requirement that the driver touch the steering wheel and apply a small amount of torque to it every 20-25 seconds. It may be that the driver was holding the wheel but not turning it.

Correction: A previous version of this story said the driver's hands were not on the wheel. The Elon Musk-run automaker has yet to respond.

The accident, which involved the Tesla Model 3 driving into and then under a semi's trailer, saw the Tesla's roof sheared completely off the auto and its occupant instantly killed.

"Tesla has for too always been using human drivers as guinea pigs", he said. This is tragically what happens, ' he added.

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