Thursday, 18 October, 2018

NTSB: Tesla driver did not have hands on wheel before fatal crash

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017 Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017
Cristina Norman | 08 June, 2018, 13:17

An update from the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that the driver of the Tesla (TSLA +1.9%) Model X that crashed into a highway barrier in a fatal accident on March 23 didn't have his hands on the wheel.

The preliminary NTSB report released today does not assign blame for the crash, and officials say it may take a year or longer to determine the probable cause.

The preliminary report didn't include conclusions about what caused the crash.

According to the report, the Model X crashed into the highway divider at a speed of 71 miles per hour. As the NTSB notes, eight seconds prior to the crash the Tesla was following a lead vehicle and traveling at around 65 miles per hour (104 km/h).

"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents - such a standard would be impossible - but it makes them much less likely to occur", the company wrote in the post.

Electronic vehicle maker says autonomous auto pilot system was working fine and driver Walter Huang should have been paying attention.

The NTSB said information downloaded from the vehicle showed Huang turned on the Tesla's Autopilot function four times during the 32-minute-long drive, and Autopilot was on for almost all of the final 19 minutes of the drive up until the auto crashed. Just four seconds prior to the impact, the vehicle in front moved out of the way and the Tesla began to speed up.

During the 60 seconds prior to the crash, the driver's hands were detected on the steering wheel on three separate occasions, for a total of 34 seconds; for the last 6 seconds prior to the crash, the vehicle did not detect the driver's hands on the steering wheel.

A Tesla SUV using the company's semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system accelerated just before crashing into a California freeway barrier, killing its driver, federal investigators have determined.

Tesla's Autopilot feature is not fully autonomous. The attenuator had been damaged 11 days earlier in a previous accident and hadn't been repaired, according to NTSB.

After striking the gore point's crash attenuator, the Tesla struck two other cars.

Questions have been raised about the Tesla autopilot system's ability to detect stopped or stationary objects in other crashes.

"The focus isn't Tesla's technology", he said.

Last month, police in Utah said a Tesla in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked fire truck. Drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and engaged at all times when the feature is activated. The firetruck was unoccupied and no injuries were claimed by anyone at the crash scene, authorities said.

The crash still remains under investigation, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans. "Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision". "It is the driver's responsibility to drive safely and remain in control of the vehicle at all times", it says.

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