A preliminary report released on Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed an important piece of information in the fatal crash involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 earlier this year: Autopilot was engaged.
Tesla further noted that its drivers have logged more than a billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and that drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those without the systems' assistance.
According to the report, the driver did not appear to have his hands on the wheel and neither he nor the Autopilot took any evasive action.
The latest crash occurred in Delray Beach, Florida, on State Highway 441 when a Model 3 struck a semi that had slowed as it crossed the southbound lanes to turn onto the northbound lanes. According to the NTSB, "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".
In a statement, a Tesla spokesperson said that the company provided NTSB with the vehicle log data shortly after the crash.
Neither Brown nor the auto braked for a tractor-trailer, which had turned left in front of the Tesla and was crossing its path. One report, issued after another fatal accident in Florida, said, "Contributing to the auto driver's overreliance on the vehicle automation was its operational design, which permitted his prolonged disengagement from the driving task and his use of the automation in ways inconsistent with guidance and warnings from the manufacturer".
The Telsa Model 3 was driving down a highway 68 miles per hour when it hit the trailer, when it failed to register the truck turning out.
Federal investigators have determined that a Tesla driver who was involved in a fatal auto accident had the vehicle operating on its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.
The Verge reports that this is the fourth fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot. Two seconds after that, the system registered that the driver's hands weren't on the wheel and they didn't register as being back on the wheel before the crash.
"Tesla has for too always been using human drivers as guinea pigs". This is tragically what happens, ' he added.
NHTSA said Thursday that its investigation is continuing and its findings will be made public when it's completed. Musk said last month that Tesla had developed a powerful computer that could use artificial intelligence to safely navigate the roads with the same camera and radar sensors that are now on Tesla cars.
The NTSB preliminary report doesn't make any conclusions about the cause of the accident, as the agency will continue to gather information on the incident, potentially issuing safety recommendations at a later date. Rather, the systems are created to detect vehicles they are following to prevent rear-end collisions.