Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

No Driver Input Detected In Seconds Before Deadly Tesla Crash, NTSB Finds

No Driver Input Detected In Seconds Before Deadly Tesla Crash, NTSB Finds

At four seconds before the crash, the auto was no longer following the lead vehicle and at three seconds the cars speed increased from 100 Km/h to 114 Km/h.

On March 23 of this year, a Model X driving down a California freeway crashed into a highway divider at high speed. Four seconds before the crash it was no longer following the lead vehicle, the NTSB said.

The Tesla was following a lead vehicle at about 105 km/h roughly 8 seconds prior to the crash.

At 7 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla began a left steering movement while following a lead vehicle. The NTSB said the crash remains under investigation and that it could make changes to its preliminary report as it does more research on the matter. During that period, Huang received two visual and one auditory alert to place his hands on the steering wheel.

Tesla has faced criticism for calling its system Autopilot because the name implies the auto can drive on its own. Seven seconds before the crash, the Tesla started to steer toward the gore area between the main highway lanes and the exit for SH-85, accelerating from 62 miles per hour to 70.8 miles per hour as the lead vehicle was no longer in front of it.

"The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe", Tesla's March blog post said.

The NTSB didn't report any alerts in the moments leading up to the crash. But that device had been damaged in a previous crash on March 12.

Autopilot can steer and brake itself under certain circumstances, but requires drivers to periodically touch the steering wheel to indicate that they are paying attention. The electric auto company and the safety board eventually parted ways, however, due to Tesla's decision to release crash data before the NTSB's investigation was complete.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the case of a Model S driven by a 28-year-old woman that struck a stopped fire truck on a South Jordan, Utah, roadway on May 11.

NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil told the AP Thursday that, among other factors, investigators are trying to determine how the car's camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors were working and what they were tracking. Following the collision, the Tesla rotated counterclockwise and the front portion of the vehicle separated from the rest of the Model X. The crossover was also involved in subsequent collisions with a 2017 Audi A4 and a 2010 Mazda 3.

It serves as a tragic reminder that drivers need to always pay attention when using Autopilot and be ready to take control at all time.

"It is the driver's responsibility to drive safely and remain in control of the vehicle at all times", the manual says.

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