Fatal Tesla crash invites US investigation

01 Jul 2016 | Written by Mansi Motwani; Edited by Gaurav

Tesla's Autopilot feature, which automatically changes lanes and reacts to traffic, is now under inspection.

A self-driving Tesla car smashed into a lorry in Florida, in May, resulting in the death of its driver.

A statement released by Tesla said that "the white side of the tractor trailer driving across against a brightly lit sky" was unrecognisable to the Model S car.

In context: The credibility of Self-Driving technology

The ModelTesla Model S

The Tesla Model S was introduced by its makers in June 2012, and is a full-sized, all-electric five-door luxury-liftback.

In its NHTSA automobile safety ring, it scored a full 5.0

Topping the monthly new car sales ranking in any country, it became the first electric car to do so.

It was ranked as the world's best-selling plug-in electric vehicle in the year 2015.

07 May 2016Navy Veteran killed in self-driving car

On 7th May, 2016, in Williston, Florida, Joshua Brown, 40, was killed in an accident while in a Tesla Model S electric sedan.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the crash occurred when the car failed to apply the brakes to a tractor-trailer turn in front of it.

This incident, involving a self-driving car, is the first of its kind.

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YouTube video

Mr. Brown posted a video on YouTube a month before the unfortunate incident praising the sophisticated "Autopilot" system in his car, nicknamed "Tessy", because it prevented collision on an interstate highway.

01 Jul 2016Fatal Tesla crash invites US investigation

Federal probe into Tesla car crash

The InvestigationFederal probe into Tesla car crash

Federal regulators opened a formal investigation into the fatal accident.

The design and performance of the system aboard the Model S will be inspected by the United States' government.

The NHTSA said it was investigating 25,000 Model S sedans equipped with Autopilot.

According to them, the crash called "for an examination of any driving aids in use at the time of the crash."

ResponseTesla's reaction to the accident

In a press release issued by Tesla, the company termed this incident as a "tragic loss", stating that this happened to be the first death in over 130 million miles of its Autopilot operation.

It said that it was customary for the driver to give "explicit acknowledgment" regarding Autopilot being a new technology still under development.

CEO Musk expressed grief on his Twitter timeline.

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Debate over self-driving techology

This accident is likely to ignite controversial debates within the auto industry and in legal circles, over the safety of systems acquiring partial/full control of steering and braking from the drivers of such cars.

10 Jul 2016Second Tesla crash being probed in US

A second car crash involving a self-driving Tesla car is being probed in the US.

The accident happened in Pennsylvania and claimed no lives, however, the driver and passenger were injured.

In a statement, Tesla said that there was no evidence that the car's 'Autopilot' feature was responsible.

US car safety authorities have initiated an investigation into the matter.

14 Jul 2016Tesla admits 'autopilot' fault in crash

Tesla has admitted that the 'autopilot' feature was switched on in the recent crash of one of its driverless cars.

However, Tesla added that the feature was not being used properly, leading to the crash.

Tesla's Chief Executive Elon Musk stated that they had no intention of disabling their 'autopilot' feature.

He added that Tesla would publish a blog on how to use 'autopilot.'

20 Jan 2017Tesla's autopilot system not faulty: US investigators

A US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report released on 19th January found no fault in Tesla's Autopilot system in the deadly May 2016 accident which killed a driver using Tesla's Model S.

According to the report, no hardware or software failure was discovered in the six-month long investigation.

Closing the investigation, the NHTSA said it would keep monitoring safety-related defects.