Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

NTSB: Autopilot was in use before Tesla hit semitrailer

NTSB: Autopilot was in use before Tesla hit semitrailer

Brown was driving his Tesla Model S on another highway in Florida when he crashed into another semi-truck at a speed of 74mph (120km/h). Two seconds after that, the system registered that the driver's hands weren't on the wheel and they didn't register as being back on the wheel before the crash.

Initial data also showed the Tesla was traveling at 68 miles per hour, 13 mph above the speed limit, when it hit the truck, whose driver was uninjured. "Autopilot had not been used at any other time during that drive".

He said Tesla "must restrict Autopilot to conditions where it can be used safely and install a far more effective system to verify driver engagement".

On Friday, March 1, 2019, about 6:17 a.m. eastern standard time, a 2018 Tesla Model 3 electric-powered passenger vehicle was southbound in the right through lane of the 14000 block of State Highway 441 (US 441) in Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, when it struck an eastbound 2019 worldwide truck-tractor in combination with a semitrailer.

That occupant had reportedly told Tesla prior to the accident that the Autopilot seemed to be steering toward static objects. The final Highway Accident Report from the NTSB for that incident found that "The Tesla's automated vehicle control system was not created to, and did not, identify the truck crossing the car's path or recognize the impending crash". Vehicle logs showed he took his hands off the steering wheel immediately after activating autopilot, the statement said.

The driver, Jeremy Beren Banner, was killed in the crash. The investigation is ongoing and was said to also be examining the driver of the combination vehicle, the motor carrier, highway factors, and survival factors to determine the probable cause. The Tesla Autopilot crash took place on a highway in Palm Beach, Florida, when a semi-truck appeared in the car's lane.

During this crash, a Tesla that was in Autopilot mode collided with the trailer of a truck that failed to yield while crossing a divided highway.

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On that occasion Tesla did not reveal whether Autopilot had spotted the barrier. The roof of the Tesla was sheared off as the vehicle underrode the semitrailer and continued south (figure 2).

Tesla's Autopilot function has evolved in recent months and years, giving cars more advanced self-driving capabilities - but it's still intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.

To force a recall, NHTSA must do an investigation and show that the way a vehicle is designed is outside of industry standards.

NHTSA said Thursday that its investigation is continuing and its findings will be made public when it's completed. The victim's father, Gao Jubin, who had planned to hand over his logistics business to his son, claims that Tesla Auto-pilot was responsible for the crash.

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

The NTSB found that the Model S cameras and radar weren't capable of detecting a vehicle turning into its path.

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