Latest Fatal Tesla Crash Involves Autopilot System

18 Mai, 2019, 03:59 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Tesla 3 crash in Florida 2019

In a preliminary report issued on Thursday, the US National Transportation Safety Board on said that a Tesla 3 crash on March 1 in Delray Beach, Florida, occurred while the vehicle's Autopilot system was active.

Tesla further noted that its drivers have logged more than a billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and that drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those without the systems' assistance.

The NTSB's report states that 10 seconds before the Tesla Model 3 collided with a semi-trailer in this most recent March incident in Florida, the driver engaged Autopilot.

The car's speed was also listed as 13 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.

NTSB investigators said Banner turned on the autopilot feature about 10 seconds before the crash, and the autopilot did not execute any evasive maneuvers to avoid the collision. One report, issued after another fatal accident in Florida, said, "Contributing to the auto driver's overreliance on the vehicle automation was its operational design, which permitted his prolonged disengagement from the driving task and his use of the automation in ways inconsistent with guidance and warnings from the manufacturer".

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The vehicle drove beneath the trailer, killing the driver, in a crash that is strikingly similar to one that happened on the other side of Florida in 2016 that also involved use of Autopilot.

On 23 March 2019, a Tesla Model X crashed into a roadside barrier and caught fire while on Autopilot, which also resulted in the death of the driver. But if you've driven a vehicle with a system like Autopilot, those systems rely on the driver applying torque to the wheel to register that the driver is doing their part. Those logs showed that the driver immediately removed his hands from the wheel after he engaged Autopilot, and Autopilot hadn't been used at any other point during the trip. GM's Super Cruise driver assist system only operates on divided highways with no median turn lanes, he said. "This is tragically what happens".

"Two crashes with such striking similarities should be a wake up call to NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] to open a defect investigation", added Cathy Chase, president for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

David Friedman, a former acting NHTSA administrator, said the incident raises serious questions about the system and the lack of restrictions on its use. "Tesla is long on big claims and short on proof. They're literally showing how not to do it by rushing technology out".

Thursday's report from the NTSB is an early, bare-bones recounting of its understanding of the basic facts of the crash. The agency said that Tesla told Model S owners that Autopilot should be used only on limited-access highways, primarily interstates. The report said that despite upgrades to the system, Tesla did not incorporate protections against use of the system on other types of roads.

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