Fatal Tesla crash driver 'given warnings'

Ivan Schwartz
June 20, 2017

Former Navy SEAL and Tesla enthusiast Joshua Brown died in a fatal crash after he hit a truck while driving in autopilot mode.

The Autopilot mode was remained on during most of his trip which gave him visual warning seven times saying "Hands Required Not Detected".

"Just a white cloud, like just a big white explosion, " said Terrence Mulligan, a witness who saw the impact and rushed to where the electric vehicle came to rest, told investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board. Despite the warnings, Brown kept his hands off the wheel before colliding with a truck on a Florida highway.

Of the 37 minutes during which the driver assistance system was active, the driver's hands were detected on the wheel only "for 25 seconds", the report said.

On seven occasions, the vehicle gave the driver visual warnings and on six of these alerts chimed to tell the driver to return his hands to the steering wheel. He is due for a court hearing on Wednesday.The NTSB report disclosed that the Tesla Model S uses a proprietary system to record a vehicle's speed and other data, which authorities can not access with the commercial tools used to access information from event data recorders in most other cars.For that reason, the NTSB said it "had to rely on Tesla to provide the data in engineering units using proprietary manufacturer software".

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For that reason, the NTSB said it "had to rely on Tesla to provide the data in engineering units using proprietary manufacturer software". Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment, but the company has never been shy about pointing out that Autopilot requires a human paying attention at all times. He also added that the family has not taken any legal action against Tesla and was still reviewing the NTSB report.

Tesla in September unveiled improvements in Autopilot. The agency said it found no defect in the vehicle and wouldn't issue a recall.

The NTSB's report says that two Autopilot systems were active - adaptive cruise control, which allows the vehicle to set and maintain a pace relative to traffic in front of the auto, and Autosteer, which holds the vehicle in its lane.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this year also found that Tesla's Autopilot system was not at fault in the May 2016 crash. "He is due for a court hearing on Wednesday".

Other reports by GizPress

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