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Tesla Model S

Model S driver died in a crash; autopilot is being investigated

A Tesla driver died in a crash while he was traveling with Model S’ autopilot function active. This is the first known crash where autopilot was activated. This incident was revealed by Tesla today in a blog post. Tesla also indicated that National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) was informed.

Crash occurred on May 7 at 3:40 p.m. in a divided highway in west of Williston. Joshua Brown, 45 years-old Ohio resident, died after his Tesla Model S passed under the 18-wheel semi Truck. According to Police Beat, the truck was traveling west on US 27A in the left turn lane toward 140th Court while Brown’s car was headed east in the outside lane of U.S. 27A. When the truck made a left turn onto NE 140th Court in front of the car, the car’s roof struck the underside of the trailer as it passed under the trailer and the top of Joshua Brown’s 2015 Tesla Model S vehicle was torn off by the force of the collision.  The car continued to travel east on U.S. 27A until it left the roadway on the south shoulder and struck a fence. The car smashed through two fences and struck a power pole. The car rotated counter-clockwise while sliding to its final resting place about 100 feet south of the highway. Unfortunately, Joshua Brown died at the scene. However, truck driver, Frank Baressi, 62, Tampa was not injured in the crash.

There are two main lessons that can be learned from this horrible incident. First, even if use Tesla’s autopilot feature, still you should check the surroundings and ready to take the wheel anytime because still autopilot is in beta. Second, the trucks always has been a big issue in crashes. Besides of being heavy, most of the trucks lack the essential security systems that may save other people’s live. For example, if there was a strong protection under the trailer, the car will only hit to the side of the truck and the damage will be less .

NHTSA’s statement ( to TheVerge ) is given below;

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation is opening a Preliminary Evaluation of the design and performance of automated driving systems in the Tesla Model S.

NHTSA recently learned of a fatal highway crash involving a 2015 Tesla Model S, which, according to the manufacturer, was operating with the vehicle’s ‘Autopilot’ automated driving systems activated. The incident, which occurred on May 7 in Williston, Florida, was reported to NHTSA by Tesla. NHTSA deployed its Special Crash Investigations Team to investigate the vehicle and crash scene, and is in communication with the Florida Highway Patrol. Preliminary reports indicate the vehicle crash occurred when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection on a non-controlled access highway. The driver of the Tesla died due to injuries sustained in the crash.

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation will examine the design and performance of the automated driving systems in use at the time of the crash. During the Preliminary Evaluation, NHTSA will gather additional data regarding this incident and other information regarding the automated driving systems.

The opening of the Preliminary Evaluation should not be construed as a finding that the Office of Defects Investigation believes there is either a presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles.

Via – TheVerge

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