Tesla Model X In California Crash Sped Up Prior To Impact

08 June, 2018, 17:19 | Author: Sally Reid
  • Tesla Model X

A fatal accident involving a Tesla Model X on Autopilot came under investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in March.

A Tesla running on the Autopilot system, which hit a highway safety barrier in March, didn't try to turn away, didn't brake and in fact accelerated significantly three seconds before the deadly impact, federal investigators said Thursday.

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 auto had a way of veering toward the exact barrier his auto hit, ABC7 reported. The NTSB said Huang's vehicle sped up from 62 miles per hour to 70.8 miles per hour in the last three seconds prior to the crash. According to the NTSB, not only did the Tesla Autopilot steer into the concrete divider, it actually sped up. Following the collision, the Tesla rotated counterclockwise and the front portion of the vehicle separated from the rest of the Model X. The crossover was also involved in subsequent collisions with a 2017 Audi A4 and a 2010 Mazda 3.

The Autopilot system was engaged on four separate occasions during the 32-minute trip, including continuous operation for the last 18 minutes and 55 seconds prior to the crash. The NTSB report said that during the drive, Huang's vehicle "provided two visual alerts and one auditory alert for the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel".

The data also shows that Huang's hand were only on the steering wheel for 34 seconds total in the 60 seconds leading up to the crash.

As the vehicle approached an area where two lanes diverged and became separated by a highway barrier, the vehicle moved to the left and drove on a path that would lead it directly into the barrier's crash attenuator - which is created to limit the impact from collisions - which had been damaged in another collision less than two weeks earlier.

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The NTSB's preliminary report states that all "aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes". Tesla has defended its iterative approach, arguing that its features, in conjunction with attentive humans, are already providing for significantly safer cars. Four seconds before the crash it was no longer following the lead vehicle, the NTSB said.

Two other vehicles subsequently struck the Tesla, resulting in an additional injury.

In a shareholders' meeting this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk didn't directly answer questions about the safety of its Autopilot system, but said that a significant revision would be pushed to cars next week.

Tensions in the NTSB probe boiled over on April 11 when Tesla released information about the accident without first clearing it with investigators, prompting the NTSB to take the unusual action of removing the vehicle company from official participation.

Tesla had issued comments blaming the driver of the Tesla SUV.

Earlier this year, a Utah woman crashed her Model S into a firetruck at 60 miles per hour while reportedly using Autopilot. Notably, the car's Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of the crash.

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