NTSB links Tesla crash to Autopilot; 3rd such fatal accident


Federal investigators say Tesla's autopilot system has been connected to another death, from a Model 3 crash in Florida this spring.

The crash renews questions about the driver-assistance system's ability to detect hazards and has sparked concerns about the safety of systems that can perform driving tasks for extended stretches of time with little or no human intervention, but which cannot completely replace human drivers.

In a preliminary report on the March 1 crash, NTSB said that data and video from the Tesla show that the driver turned on Autopilot about 10 seconds before the crash on a divided highway with turn lanes in the median. The 50-year-old driver of the Tesla died when the car's roof was sheared off. Tesla drivers have logged more than one billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and our data shows that, when used properly by an attentive driver who is prepared to take control at all times, drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those operating without assistance. I will say that when I drive with Autopilot engaged, I always try to keep my hand on the wheel and recommend that you do the same.

Tesla revealed the Model Y compact SUV in March this year and is planning to sell the vehicle from the third quarter of next year in the US.

However, this is not the first Tesla Autopilot failure that killed a person.

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Earlier this year, the company said it would cut its workforce by 7% after the "most challenging" year in its history. "While our investigation with authorities is ongoing, we have found that only a few battery modules were affected and the majority of the battery pack is undamaged", Tesla said.

According to the report, the auto was on Autopilot (Autonomous) mode when the crash took place and the vehicle failed to prevent it.

In 2016, another crash in Florida occurred under similar circumstances. "They just get too used to it".

Tesla needs a better system to more quickly detect whether drivers are paying attention and warn them if they are not, Friedman said. "This is tragically what happens", he said.

One of it took place in 2017 and the other in 2018.