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03 April 2018

Tesla car crash in California kills driver while running on autopilot

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com

A Tesla vehicle driving in autopilot mode crashed into a roadside barrier and caught fire in a test carried out in California – according to a report by the BBC. The driver of the Model X car died soon after the incident which occurred on the 23 March 2018.

In a statement, the company confirmed that autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. Several visual and one audible hands-on warning were sent to the driver whose hands were not detected on the steering wheel six seconds prior to the collision.

“The driver had about five seconds and 150 metres of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken,” the statement added.

The severity of the crash is believed to have been the result of the crash attenuator’s state at the time of the accident. The highway safety barrier, which aims to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had not been replaced since being crushed in a previous accident.

Tesla’s autopilot system is said to carry out some of the functions of a fully autonomous machine such as braking, accelerating and steering under certain conditions, but operates as a driver assistance system. The company highlighted that it is not intended to work independently and that motorists are required to have their hands on the wheel at all times.

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