Tesla on autopilot in 2016 hit truck in explosive cloud of dust

Tesla on autopilot in 2016 hit truck in explosive cloud of dust

Former Navy SEAL and electric vehicle enthusiast Joshua Brown was killed in an accident on May 7, 2016, when his Tesla Model S drove into the side of a tractor-trailer while using the semi-autonomous Autopilot driving function.

The safety board's next step is to issue a report on the cause of the accident and any recommendations for preventing a re-occurrence.

The report said that the vehicle remained in autopilot mode for most of his trip and that it gave him a visual warning seven separate times that said "hands required not detected". In fact, over a 37-minute period of driving, the vehicle registered Brown's hands on the wheel for just 25 seconds. The company did say a year ago that autopilot mode "does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility".

Brown's final drive in his Tesla lasted 41 minutes, according to the NTSB. The updated system temporarily prevents drivers from using the system if they do not respond to audible warnings to take back control of the auto. It contains hundreds of pages of crash reconstruction report, description of the crash sequence, interview transcripts and summaries, photographs, and other investigative material. While there is no conclusion yet what triggered the accident, investigators found new details from the witness who described the details of the crash. A lawyer for the Brown family told Reuters that any claims to the contrary were "unequivocally false".

An investigation into the first fatal crash in a self-driving auto found its driver ignored multiple warnings from the vehicle's "Autopilot" system.

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While Tesla is clear that drivers of its electric vehicles can take their hands off the wheel for extended periods when Autopilot is engaged, their monitoring of the road conditions are still required.

The report showed Brown should have seen the truck for at least seven seconds before the crash, but took no action to steer or brake to avoid it.

On May 7, 2016, a 2015 Tesla Model S 70D, traveling eastbound on US Highway 27A (US-27A) west of Williston, Florida, struck and passed beneath a refrigerated semitrailer powered by a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia truck-tractor.

The NTSB probes only a handful of highway accidents each year in search of broad safety lessons.

The driver of the truck had had his license suspended five times between 1984 and 2013 for violations including speeding and failure to appear in court, according to NTSB.

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