Agency: Fatal Tesla 'Autopilot' crash driver did not have hands on wheel


Federal investigators said Thursday in a preliminary report about a fatal Tesla crash in California that the driver did not have his hands on the wheel for six seconds before he collided with a highway barricade.

Days after the crash, Tesla said in a blog post that "the reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is created to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced".

The Model X that Huang was driving was following another auto that was traveling 65 miles per hour for several seconds before the crash, but four seconds before impact that vehicle moved out of the way.

Seven seconds before impact, according to the NTSB report, the Tesla veered to the left, and "for the last 6 seconds prior to the crash, the vehicle did not detect the driver's hands on the steering wheel".

In Tesla's page for its upcoming Full Self-Driving suite, the company makes references to Smart Summon, the capability of HW2 vehicles to navigate more complex environments and parking spaces.

"We believe that if this Autopilot had not been on, this accident would not have happened", Huang family attorney Mark Fong told CBS. The firm said its preliminary review suggested the Autopilot feature was defective. He focused on factory output that has fallen short of expectations, but did announce improvements in Tesla Autopilot.

Tesla's system may have a problem spotting or stopping for stationary objects.

The Tesla collided with a so-called crash attenuator, a device covering the concrete barrier that's created to absorb a vehicle impact to lower risks of damage and injuries.

He said that the company has largely overcome bottlenecks in production and it is "extremely likely" Tesla will hit a weekly Model 3 production rate of 5,000 cars. It stopped the trials some time back but it appears that Tesla is now thinking about offering Autopilot trials once again. The driver in the second incident told authorities she thought Tesla's emergency braking system would stop the vehicle to avert a collision.

A Tesla spokeswoman pointed to passages in the company's owners' manual warning that automatic emergency braking is created to reduce severity of a crash and isn't created to avoid a collision.

However, he also joked that he has an 'issue with time, ' referring to his overly optimistic and often missed production target dates. "Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision". The battery reignited five days after the crash in an impound lot and was extinguished by the San Mateo Fire Department.

The crash on March 23 in Mountain View, Santa Clara, which involved two other vehicles, saw one driver sustain minor injuries, with the Tesla driver dying later in hospital.

"Around 4:30 p.m. that afternoon, at the impound lot, the Tesla battery emanated smoke and audible venting", the report stated.