Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

USA safety agency sends team to investigate Tesla crash

Chairman Soros speaks during panel discussion at Nicolas Berggruen Conference in Berlin US safety agency sends team to investigate Tesla crash
Jean Garcia | 17 May, 2018, 06:18

During this "drive cycle", the Model S registered "more than a dozen instances of her hands being off the steering wheel".

Tesla said that the driver in the Mountain View crash did not heed repeated warnings from the auto to resume control of the vehicle.

South Jordan police released a summary of findings from the vehicle Wednesday showing the driver hadn't touched the Model S's steering wheel for 80 seconds before hitting the truck at a red light.

The Tesla report also noted that instructions provided to drivers about their vehicle's automation features expressly instruct that they maintain attention, and hands on the wheel, at all times. To wit, Musk just this week took to Twitter and said: "It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in United States auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage". On two such occasions, she had her hands off the wheel for more than one minute each time and her hands came back on only after a visual alert was provided.

According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the vehicle claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone.

The driver had been using the "Autosteer" and "Traffic Aware Cruise Control" functions of Autopilot, Tesla reported to police. It is also probing the January crash of a Tesla vehicle apparently traveling in Autopilot that struck a fire truck. This is the speed the driver selected. The driver finally touched the brake pedal "a second prior to the crash".

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The Utah driver was issued a traffic citation for "failure to keep proper lookout" under South Jordan City municipal code.

Federal officials blamed the truck's driver for failing to yield, on the driver for relying too heavily on Autopilot, and on Elon Musk-led Tesla - the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that Autopilot contributed to the crash by allowing lengthy disengagement from the driving process, on a roadway unsuitable for the semi-autonomous-driving system.

The crash is the third accident in recent months that has occurred when a Tesla was in the semiautonomous driving mode.

Media coverage of Tesla accidents aside, there's no denying that Tesla vehicles are engineered to be some of the safest cars on the planet.

AEB is "designed to automatically engage the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision with another vehicle" and therefore, drivers should never rely on it to always save them from a crash.

It certainly can be improved and Tesla should use data from this crash and try to improve AEB, but until it gets better, people shouldn't rely on it.

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