Driver of Tesla Model S Ignored Multiple Warnings Prior to Fatal Crash

The Ohio man killed in the Tesla Model S crash last May opted to drive hands-free despite receiving repeated warnings from the car’s autonomous system to take control of the wheel, a newly released report has revealed.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday published the docket with details of its investigation into the May 7, 2016 crash near Williston, Florida that took the life of Joshua Brown. The former Navy SEAL was killed when his Model S, which was in autopilot mode at the time, crashed into the side of a semi-tractor trailer that was crossing both lanes of a divided highway in front of the victim’s oncoming vehicle. Impact with the semitrailer sheared off the roof of the Tesla.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Although the NHTSA concluded early this year the crash was not fault of the electronic car company’s autopilot driving system, few details were released. The docket gives the public an in-depth look at the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

According to the report, Brown had his hands on the wheel for a total of 25 seconds during a 37-minute window. In fact, autopilot mode was engaged for the majority of Brown’s trip despite the system giving him warnings on seven different occasions of “Hands Required Not Detected.” In six of those cases, the system followed the verbal warning with a chime before reiterating the warning.

The NHTSA indicated that Brown did not use his brakes. His last manual action, just two minutes prior to impact, was to set the cruise control for 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour — well above the 65 mph speed limit.

The report concluded the driver was distracted for at least seven seconds before impact, meaning he should have seen the transport he crashed into. The report called it “a period of extended distraction (at least seven seconds)” when braking should have occurred.

Tesla has updated its autopilot system since the fatal crash. Known as Enhanced Autopilot, the new system has many of the same features as the original version, but it said to be more accurate and efficient.

As part of the autopilot system, each vehicle has eight surround cameras providing 360-degree visibility for up to 250 meters. There are also 12 ultrasonic sensors enabling detection of objects at nearly twice the distance of the previous system while a forward-facing radar equipped with enhanced processing will offer up further data. Processing the data is a much more powerful onboard computer with the Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software.

 


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

The post Driver of Tesla Model S Ignored Multiple Warnings Prior to Fatal Crash appeared first on SiteProNews.

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