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Tesla Driver in Fatal March Crash Was Using Autopilot, NTSB Says

Tesla Driver in Fatal March Crash Was Using Autopilot, NTSB Says

According to the NTSB, "Preliminary data from the vehicle show that the Tesla's Autopilot system-an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that provides both longitudinal and lateral control over vehicle motion-was active at the time of the crash".

Thursday's report from the NTSB is an early, bare-bones recounting of its understanding of the basic facts of the crash.

"The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision", the report stated.

Whether the driver's hands were on the steering wheel or not is irrelevant at this point, because the data shows that neither he nor the auto made evasive maneuvers.

The Tesla Model 3 after being recovered following the crash.

The driver was found to have used Autopilot for 37 minutes but only had his hands on the wheel for 25 seconds. A semi tractor-trailer was crossing those lanes to turn northbound, but slowed before the turn, obstructing the lane ahead of the electric vehicle, which struck the left side of the semi's trailer and then continued traveling for 1,600 feet (nearly a third of a mile) from the accident site.

Neither Brown nor his auto braked for a tractor-trailer, which had turned left in front of the Tesla and was crossing its path.

The NTSB's proclamation also lines up with previous statements made by the investigative body concerning Tesla's ADAS Autopilot.

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The Telsa Model 3 was driving down a highway 68 miles per hour when it hit the trailer, when it failed to register the truck turning out. The rate for drivers when Autopilot was not engaged was one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven.

NTSB noted in its final 2017 report into the 2016 crash that the driver was over reliant on Tesla's Autopilot, which was also engaged when it crashed.

Tesla shared vehicle data logs with the NTSB shortly after the March 1 crash, the company spokesperson said.

Autopilot was also engaged when Apple engineer Wei "Walter" Huang crashed his Model X into a road barrier and died.

He said Tesla "must restrict Autopilot to conditions where it can be used safely and install a far more effective system to verify driver engagement". In April, his family filed a lawsuit against Tesla in a California state court, alleging negligence on the part of the electric auto maker. Tesla said the vehicle did not detect Banner's hands on the wheel during impact, and neither he nor the autopilot system tried to swerve, the report states. "We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy".

Tesla said in a statement Thursday that Banner did not use Autopilot at any other time during the drive before the crash.

"For the past three quarters we have released quarterly safety data directly from our vehicles which demonstrates that", asserted the automaker. Data from the damaged Tesla shows that the car's autopilot system had been engaged 10 seconds prior to the collision.