Tesla’s Theories On Deadly Model S Autopilot Crash

model s crash autopilot

Tesla Motors is investigating two possible causes of a fatal accident involving one of its Model S sedans, neither of which included the vehicle’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

Tesla recently told the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that it is considering two possible “system failures” that might have led to the May 7 crash that killed Joshua Brown.

One possible scenario is that the Model S’ camera and radar system simply failed to detect the tractor-trailer and therefore didn’t trigger emergency braking. The other, according to Reuters, is that an integrated system used to “tune out” larger objects like overhead signs and overpasses in order to prevent false braking might not have properly identified the truck.

Although Tesla admits that Autopilot was active at the time of the crash, the company doesn’t fault the semi-autonomous system for the crash. That’s because Tesla doesn’t considers vehicle braking as a competent of Autopilot. Things like steering, lane changes and vehicle speed are considered within the domain of Autopilot.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the crash is still ongoing. However, the NTSB has already determined that the Model S was traveling at 74 mph in a 65 mph zone.

Separately, the NHTSA is looking into whether Tesla’s Autopilot system poses an unreasonable risk to driver safety.

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