Tesla on Autopilot accelerated, didn't brake ahead of fatal crash

Tesla on Autopilot accelerated, didn't brake ahead of fatal crash

The National Transportation Safety Board's initial reportalso stated that the vehicle, a Tesla (TSLA) Model X, had the Autopilot function engaged ahead of the March 23 crash.

The NTSB's preliminary report states that all "aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes".

The NTSB has now released its preliminary report of the accident. In their report, the NTSB says Huang's Autopilot system sped up to 70.8 miles per hour (from 62 mph) three seconds prior to the crash, rather than slowing down or coming to a stop.

The NTSB's preliminary report on the crash of a Tesla Model X on U.S. Highway 101 in the bay area suburb of Mountain View, Calif., indicates that Huang had the vehicle in it's semi-autonomous autopilot mode for almost 19 minutes before the crash.

The Tesla was following a lead vehicle and traveling about 65 miles per hour, eight seconds before the crash.

Investigators blame a mistake made by Tesla's Autopilot system for a mistake that killed Wei "Walter" Huang in a Tesla auto crash.

The Autopilot system was engaged on four separate occasions during the 32-minute trip, including continuous operation for the last 18 minutes and 55 seconds prior to the crash.

Tesla has repeatedly referred to a government report from January 2017, which has been widely criticized, that found that Autopilot reduced crash rates for Tesla by 40%. The cruise control maintains a set distance between the cars and traffic in front of them. Huang's hands were detected on the wheel three times in the 60 seconds before the crash, though his hands were not detected on the wheel for the six seconds before the collision.

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In the days after the crash, Huang's wife Savonne said her husband had complained about the system not working properly near the area where the crash occurred.

Tesla's Autopilot feature is not fully autonomous. A Tesla website says its vehicles have "full self-driving hardware".

Questions have been raised about the Tesla autopilot system's ability to detect stopped or stationary objects in other crashes.

Last month, a Model S traveling in Southern California hit an unoccupied parked police vehicle while reportedly using Autopilot, prompting some calls that Tesla should stop marketing its cars as "self-driving". Four seconds before the crash it was no longer following the lead vehicle, the NTSB said.

Federal investigators in May removed Tesla from the official investigation into the California crash after the automaker seemingly blamed the driver for the crash publicly.

The crash still remains under investigation, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans.

NHTSA also is looking into a May 11 crash involving a Tesla Model S near Salt Lake City.

The report concluded that the Tesla did not attempt to brake or steer clear of the barrier.

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