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New Details Emerge in 2016 Tesla Autopilot Crash Case

Tesla Model S sedan

A 2016 accident of a Tesla Model S sparked a lot of controversy. Some argued that maybe the world is not yet ready for self-driving cars. Others blamed it all on the driver. According to a witness, the semi-autonomous sedan got out of control and plowed underneath a tractor trailer, leaving behind only a huge cloud of white smoke. On Monday, the United States National Transportation Safety Board released a few hundreds of pages containing technical reports about the May 7, 2016 accident. The board apparently hasn’t reached a conclusion regarding what caused the crash. However, those reports offered a few more details about what happened.

A deadly crash

Back in June 2016, Tesla said that the car’s autopilot was active when the crash happened. According to the company, the autopilot is indeed the most advanced driver-assistance technology to date. However, people should know that it doesn’t transform the car into a completely autonomous one. Also, the driver should not abdicate responsibility and treat the car as if it was totally autonomous. Earlier this year, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the driver of the Tesla Model S vehicle had completely ignored the warnings. Those were specifically instructing the driver to maintain control over the car even with the autopilot system engaged. Also, the agency reportedly didn’t find any defect in the vehicle.

The crash took place on a highway near Williston, Florida. The driver, Joshua Brown, unfortunately died after the impact with the tractor. He was reportedly driving 74 miles per hour in an area which allowed a maximum speed of only 65 miles per hour. An analysis showed that the driver didn’t use the brakes at all to prevent the impact.

An investigation

Another analysis of the driver’s mobile phone and other devices didn’t conclude that he was using them at the time of the crash. However, some earlier reports were saying that he was watching a movie when the crash happened. Brown was 40-years old at the time of his death and a former Navy SEAL. Between 2010 and 2015, he had been cited for speeding eight times. As for the truck driver, he too wasn’t using his phone at the time of the crash. However, he had been using it earlier that day, while he was driving.

Image source: wikimedia

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