NTSB: Tesla’s Autopilot Was Engaged during Fatal Crash in Florida


The FPS Review
Staff member
May 6, 2019
Tesla’s reputation took a nosedive this week after the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report regarding a fatal crash in March, in which a Model 3 collided with a semi-truck, killing its 50-year-old driver. The NTSB found that the vehicle’s Autopilot was engaged during the incident.

Preliminary data from the vehicle show that the Tesla’s Autopilot system—an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that provides both longitudinal and lateral control over vehicle motion—was active at the time of the crash.1 The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision. From less than 8 seconds before the crash to the time of impact, the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel. Preliminary vehicle data show that the Tesla was traveling about 68 mph when it struck the semitrailer. Neither the preliminary data nor the videos indicate that the driver or the ADAS executed evasive maneuvers.

Jalopnik points out that the conditions are eerily similar to at least two previous incidents, which also involved truck trailers.

If you’re got a very strong feeling of déjà vu right now, don’t worry, as we’re getting it too. The very first (or second, depending on how you count it) fatal crash while using Autopilot occurred under what sounds like, at least for now with our very limited amount of information, similar circumstances. In that instance, a semi-truck was turning onto a Florida highway, and the driver of the Tesla struck the side of the trailer and died.
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