January 23, 2019

Tesla accelerated, didn't brake ahead of fatal crash

08 June 2018, 07:18 | Joann Bryant

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017

At 7 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla began a left steering movement while following a lead vehicle.

The report said the driver in the March incident got warnings to put his hands back on the wheel more than 15 minutes before the crash. Passersby pulled Huang from the wreckage moments before the vehicle burst into flames, but he later died from his injuries at a hospital.

Tesla, however, previously said it has no record of Huang complaining about Autopilot. According to the NTSB, not only did the Tesla Autopilot steer into the concrete divider, it actually sped up.

Investigators said that the Model X didn't attempt to brake or steer clear of the crash.

According to the NTSB, preliminary recorded data revealed that the Tesla Model X had its Autopilot engaged with Traffic-Aware Cruise Control set to 75 miles per hour at the time of the accident. The NTSB report confirms that, but does not speculate on how that affected the severity of the crash.

Walter Huang, the owner of the auto who died as a result of the crash, had previously taken his vehicle into the Tesla dealership, saying his vehicle had a way of veering toward the exact barrier his auto hit, ABC7 reported. However, the Tesla reported it was no longer following said vehicle four seconds before the accident.

The probe into a March crash of a Tesla Model X in Mountain View that killed the vehicle's driver took another turn Thursday as federal investigators said the auto was speeding and the driver didn't have his hands on the car's steering wheel during the last seconds leading up to the collision. The Tesla driver suffered fatal injuries while the driver of the Mazda suffered minor injuries and the driver of the Audi was not injured.

Last month, a Model S traveling in Southern California hit an unoccupied parked police vehicle while reportedly using Autopilot, prompting some calls that Tesla should stop marketing its cars as "self-driving".

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.

"The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe", Tesla's March blog post said. The driver-assist feature was engaged for the last 18 minutes 55 seconds before the collision. "It is the driver's responsibility to drive safely and remain in control of the vehicle at all times", it says. Five days later, the electric car's high-voltage battery reignited and the fire department had to extinguish the blaze.

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