Tesla in fatal Florida crash had Autopilot on, NTSB says

Tesla 3 crash in Florida 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board said a 2018 Tesla Model 3, driven by 50-year-old Jeremy Banner, was in autopilot mode when it collided with a semi truck.

Among seven recommendations it made from the investigation was that "Tesla's automated vehicle control system was not created to, and could not, identify the truck crossing the Tesla's path or recognize the impending crash".

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also probing the Delray Beach crash.

The crash is nearly identical in nature to the first Autopilot crash in 2016 that killed the Tesla occupant.

The vehicle was traveling at about 68 miles per hour before it collided with the truck as it crossed the highway, tearing off the car's roof and killing Banner.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continues to gather information on the operation of the Tesla's ADAS and the Tesla driver's actions leading up to the crash.

Tesla said in a statement Thursday that Banner did not use autopilot at any other time during the drive before the crash.

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ADAS refers to Tesla's advanced driver-assistance system.

Tesla further noted that its drivers have logged more than a billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and that drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those without the systems' assistance. They blamed the Autopilot feature on his Tesla for his death. Therefore, they suggest it's not necessarily correct that the driver removed his hands from the wheel 10 ten seconds before the accident. "Eventually there won't be wheels or pedals". The investigation is ongoing and was said to also be examining the driver of the combination vehicle, the motor carrier, highway factors, and survival factors to determine the probable cause.

Since Autopilot was launched it has undergone software updates. Among many other conclusions, it said: "The way that the Tesla Autopilot system monitored and responded to the driver's interaction with the steering wheel was not an effective method of ensuring driver engagement".

If the sensor detects zero driver input, a series of dashboard warnings alerts the driver. The NTSB is working in partnership with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office during the investigation.

Autopilot was also engaged when Apple engineer Wei "Walter" Huang crashed his Model X into a road barrier and died. In that incident, the Tesla plowed into the back of the fire truck that was stopped in the lane ahead. One report, issued after another fatal accident in Florida, said, "Contributing to the auto driver's overreliance on the vehicle automation was its operational design, which permitted his prolonged disengagement from the driving task and his use of the automation in ways inconsistent with guidance and warnings from the manufacturer".

The crash renews questions about the driver-assistance system's ability to detect hazards and has sparked concerns about the safety of systems that can perform driving tasks for extended stretches of time with little or no human intervention, but which cannot completely replace human drivers.

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