U.S. investigation launched after man killed in Tesla autopilot highway accident

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into Tesla Motors after a driver of a Model S was killed while using the vehicle’s autopilot mode, Reuters reported.

(Next Media) – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into Tesla Motors after a driver of a Model S was killed while using the vehicle’s autopilot mode, Reuters reported.

According to Electrek, Joshua Brown was driving his Tesla Model S last month. The accident occurred on U.S. Route 27 in Williston, Florida on May 7 when the vehicle struck a tractor trailer turning left across the highway, the Levy Journal reported, citing the Florida Highway patrol.

The trailer tractor was heading west and made a left turn across the highway while Brown’s vehicle was heading eastbound. The vehicles collided when the truck was perpendicular to the car across the highway.

Tesla said in a post to the company’s blog that neither the autopilot nor the driver noticed the trailer due to the vehicle’s white side coloring against the bright sky, so the brake wasn’t applied. They say that the high ride height of the trailer, its position on the road and other rare circumstances of the collision caused the vehicle to continue underneath the tractor.

In a description of the software, Tesla notes that the Autopilot system uses camera, radar and sensors to automatically steer on highways, change lanes and adjust speed. The company adds the system is in beta and drivers should always keep their hands on the steering wheel while using the autopilot system.

The car lost its roof during the accident and continued along the highway before crashing through two fences and hitting a power pole, the Levy Journal reported, citing the Florida Highway Patrol. It stopped around 100 feet south of the highway. Brown died at the scene.

SOURCES: Electrek, Levy Journal, Tesla, Reuters,


Associated Links

  • Tesla
  • Full-size vehicles
  • Sports sedans
  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Motors
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Autopilot
  • Tesla Roadster
  • Chevrolet Volt

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