Feds Investigating Deadly Tesla Crash Involving Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot

Federal investigators are looking into a Tesla Model S crash while in Autopilot mode.

The deadly crash happened back on May 7th in Florida, but we’re just learning about it. Police say 40-year-old Joshua Brown from Ohio was killed when his Model S went underneath the back of a tractor-trailer.  In a report obtained by Reuters, investigators say the Model S hit the truck which had turned left in front of it. The impact tore off the roof of the car. It kept going, left the road, crossed a field and ultimately hit a utility pole.

In its blog post about the crash, Tesla says calls the accident “tragic” and the driver a “friend” to the company. The automaker says neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the “white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky”, so the car did not automatically apply the brake.

Tesla goes on to say:

The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.

Tesla CEO also tweeted:

In its post, Tesla also reminded drivers that while Autopilot is getting better all the time, it’s not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert. Ultimately, it notes the driver is still responsible.

The Tesla Model S crash marks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s first investigation into a deadly accident involving the use of autonomous driving systems.

Tesla say it reported the accident immediately to the NHTSA. Thursday, the agency disclosed it had opened up its preliminary investigation into the crash.


Photo Credit: Tesla
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