Published: Wed, June 21, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

Warnings were issued before Autopilot crash

Warnings were issued before Autopilot crash

On May 7, 2016, a 2015 Tesla Model S 70D, traveling eastbound on US Highway 27A (US-27A) west of Williston, Florida, struck and passed beneath a refrigerated semitrailer powered by a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia truck-tractor.

"Autopilot is by far the most advanced driver-assistance system on the road, but it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle and does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility, " the company said.

The report reveals that during the 37-minute portions of the trip when the driver Joshua Brown was required to have his hands on the driving wheel, he only did so for 25 seconds.

A man who died past year when his semi-autonomous Tesla Model S collided with a truck kept his hands off the steering wheel and apparently did not respond to automated warnings from the auto to take the wheel, according to over 500 documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Monday.

The findings come from the National Transportation Safety Board. That's according to "system performance data" from Tesla, the government said.

NHTSA also investigated the Autopilot crash, but ended its investigation in January and said it found no problem with how Autopilot operated.

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On seven occasions, the vehicle gave the driver visual warnings and on six of these alerts chimed to tell the driver to return his hands to the steering wheel.

The Tesla driver involved in a fatal crash in May 2016 was given repeated automated warnings about his driving behaviour, according to a U.S. government report.

Tesla has since unveiled improvements to Autopilot that temporarily prevents drivers from using the system if they do not respond to automated warnings to take control of their vehicle. The administration announced it would not order a recall and said Brown had ignored the in-vehicle warnings telling him he needed to keep his hands on the wheel.

The last thing Brown did took place two minutes before the fatal accident: he set the cruise control at 74 mph, nine miles above the posted 65 mph speed limit.

The NTSB Monday released a large amount of data on the incident, but said it had not determined the cause of the crash. Brown's family has not taken legal action against Tesla.

The driver of the truck had had his license suspended five times between 1984 and 2013 for violations including speeding and failure to appear in court, according to NTSB.

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