NTSB Holds Hearing On Deadly Crash Involving Tesla Autopilot

Investigators Fault Driver in Tesla Autopilot Crash

Investigators Fault Driver in Tesla Autopilot Crash

The investigative staff of US National Transportation Safety Board, in its first probe of the first autonomous driving systems being introduced by carmakers, has recommended that Tesla's Autopilot system be declared a contributing factor in the crash as it allowed the driver to go for long periods without steering or apparently even looking at the road, Bloomberg reported citing a person briefed on the findings. The board doesn't have regulatory powers, but its recommendations often carry weight with regulators.

Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old OH man, was killed near Williston, Florida, when his Model S collided with a truck while it was engaged in the "Autopilot" mode. The sedan's roof was sheared off before the vehicle emerged on the other side of the trailer. Some problems have already been publicly identified. He says today's automation systems augment, rather than replace, human drivers. The company has since made upgrades to its Autopilot system.

NTSB investigators met to determine the cause of a fatal crash involving a Tesla on Autopilot in May of 2016.

Monitoring driver attention by measuring the driver's touching of the steering wheel "was a poor surrogate for monitored driving engagement".

The statement provided by the family's attorney, Jack Landskroner, defended Brown's actions and Tesla. "Nobody wants tragedy to touch their family, but expecting to identify all limitations of an emerging technology and expecting perfection is not feasible either", the statement said.

The National Highway Traffic System Administration, which regulates auto safety, declined this year to issue a recall or fine Tesla as a result of the crash, but it warned automakers they aren't to treat semiautonomous cars as if they were fully self-driving.

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