Tesla accident: Auto-pilot warned the driver

Written by Andy Prosper

The deadly accident of a Tesla driver called a critic of autonomous driving a year ago. Is technology already ready for the road? A detailed examination report provides considerable debt to the driver.

The driver of a self-propelled Tesla electric car killed deadly a year ago in the US has repeatedly refused warnings from the autopilot. The man had not the hands on the steering wheel over a longer period of time, despite a repeated request of the activated vehicle assistant, as a test report from the US authority for transport safety (NTSB).

The accident had sparked a lively discussion about the safety of autonomous driving programs. Tesla had been criticized, among other things, by the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority for the designation “Autopilot”, which could give customers a false sense of security. The US Traffic Authority, however, took the side of the company and largely adopted its argument that it is the task of the driver to comply at all times with all the instructions and instructions of the manufacturer.

Apart from another incident in China, in September 2016 an accident with an injured person was also reported in Germany. A Tesla Model S driving in the autopilot mode rammed a touring bus. Numerous manufacturers rely on the so-called autonomous driving for the future. The success of the new technology should depend primarily on its security.

In its 500-page final report on the Tesla accident, the NTSB concludes that the driver of the car bears the main debt on the crash. During 37 minutes of the trip, Joshua B. had his hands on the wheel for only 25 seconds – the rest of the time he left the assistance systems of his car. However, they repeatedly pointed it out to take control. During the accident, both the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and the track assistant ran.

The Tesla was braced to the side of a truck trailer at an unprecedented rate. According to the analysis of Tesla, the autopilot had not recognized the obstacle because of its bright color against bright skies. What exactly distracted the driver of the car remains unclear. The truck driver had indicated that the man had watched a Harry Potter movie on his laptop – but according to the NTSB there were no corresponding files on the computer, but the soundtrack of one of the films.

Even in the case of an accident, Teslas are regarded as extremely robust and safe vehicles. However, as the car had pushed under the trailer of the truck, the passenger cell was destroyed. In the autopilot, the car manufacturer has now improved several times: A new supplier has replaced Mobileye as a hardware supplier and the software is now refusing service when drivers ignore warnings to take their hands to the steering wheel.

Tesla is one of the industry’s pioneers. According to a media report, the US automaker could soon be producing vehicles in China, thus gaining better access to the world’s largest passenger car market.

About the author

Andy Prosper