Tesla : the Autopilot was active during the last fatal accident in the United States

The driver of the Tesla Model 3 that has lost the life on the 1st of march in Florida, had activated the function auto-pilot of his vehicle, has revealed the national Council of the transportation safety board (NTSB), which investigates the causes of this accident.


The Model 3 rugged this march 1, 2019

This is the third fatal accident recorded in the United States for a Tesla where the Autopilot was active. The circumstances of it are reminiscent of the very first case of July 2016. In the latter case as in the first, the driver lost his life when his car went under a semi-trailer that was crossing the track. An obstacle imposing that has not disturbed the sensors of the car.


The crash of 2016

The truck was in the middle of the road and was leaving a path perpendicular to the path of the Tesla. It operated to take the same road in the other direction of the traffic.


The truck came from the right, and slowed down in the middle of the main track to align

The speed limit is 55 mph (88 Km/h) at this location and the Tesla driving by Jeremy Banner, 50 years old, was travelling at 68 mph (109 km/h). The first analysis of the data testifies that he had activated the autopilot 10 seconds before impacting the obstacle. During the 8 seconds prior to the shock, he had not the hands in contact with the steering wheel.


The engagement of the Autopilot does not absolve the driver to hold the steering wheel, even at minima, as illustrated in the videos of Tesla. Alerts are also provided to remind the driver to order. This management function attends to regulate the speed with the traffic around you and déboiter only after the driver has initiated a movement of the steering wheel.



Other functions still in beta, deal with lane changes, take the highway exit and park the car. Later in the year it is expected that the car uses the signal lights and the Stop signs and that it leads only in urban areas.


However, video images as well as the information board show that neither the driver, nor such assistance to the conduct have not reacted in any way to either avoid the trailer or at least to brake. The accident occurred at 6: 17 and the NTSB does not leave assuming the conditions of weather or visibility were difficult.


Between the two accidents of 2016 and there has been a march 23, 2018, in California and in the morning also. The autopilot was turned on, the driver had received several audio and visual alerts to the ordering of the submit the hands on the steering wheel, but up to 6 seconds before a violent crash against a guardrail in concrete there is no given result.


The accident of march 2018. Photo Mercury News.

These accidents are the subject of investigations by the NTSB, as well as others, where victims are also to be regretted then that they had not activated the Autopilot. For the time being, in the absence of findings no setpoint or constraint were issued to the designers of these navigation systems.


Following the communication of the NTSB about the accident in Florida, Tesla has recalled its guidelines for the use of the Autopilot and insisted on the benefits in terms of security that can wait for the drivers which follow them to the letter. But on the why his system is, it seems, remained as prohibited in front of the imminence of the shock, the manufacturer said nothing.


A responsible officer of Consumer reports in the United States has moved that the Autopilot does not know how to detect an obstacle such as a trailer lorry blocked the road or that it does not react accordingly : “This system can not handle road situations common and is not able to maintain the driver’s attention at the appropriate time “. It calls for monitoring more drastic the holding of the steering wheel or a restriction on the use of the Autopilot.

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