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Multiple Warnings Were Received in Fatal Autopilat Crash

A man that was killed last year while using a Tesla Model S autopilot system had reportedly received multiple warnings while he kept his hands off the steering wheels for extended periods of time.

In May of 2016, Joshua Brown, a former Navy SEAL, was killed last year near Williston, Fl when his Model S struck a truck while Autopilot was engaged. The National Transportation Safety Board released 500 pages of findings regarding the incident, including the fact that during a 37 minute period, during which Brown was required to have his hands on the wheels, he only did so for 25 seconds.

Tesla has long pushed the fact that Autopilot does not allow the driver to relinquish responsibility, so some form of awareness and attention must still be employed. During the 37 minute period, the Autopilot software gave a visual warning seven times that “Hands Required Not Detected.” In six of those cases, the system actually sounded a chime before it returned to “Hands Required Detected” for one to three second periods.

At the moment of the crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the brakes were not applied while the car set to cruise at 74 MPH. The report stated that the truck should have been visible to Brown for at least seven seconds before impact, and that “no braking, steering, or other actions to avoid the collision” were taken. The truck driver involved in the accident was charged with a right of way traffic violation.

In September, Tesla announced new improvements to Autopilot, including adding new limits to hands-off driving. The update to the system prevents drivers from using Autpilot if there is no response to audible warnings to take back control of the car.

The lesson here is to listen to Tesla’s warnings about how much attention you still need to pay to driving even while Autopilot is engaged. A horrible tragedy could have potentially been avoided.

SOURCE | AutoBlog

Written by Staff Writer

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