Tesla auto using ‘Autopilot’ accelerated before fatal crash

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the States released data extracted from the auto involved in the March 23rd crash.

The investigation is ongoing and could lead to the NTSB issuing new safety recommendations aimed at preventing similar accidents. The NTSB confirmed that in its preliminary report today.

The report also said the vehicle had sped up from 62 miles (99 km) per hour to almost 71 miles (114 km) per hour in the three seconds before the March 23 crash - and above the 65 mph (105 km per hour) speed limit.

The NTSB's preliminary report on the crash of a Tesla Model X on U.S. Highway 101 in the bay area suburb of Mountain View, Calif., indicates that Huang had the vehicle in it's semi-autonomous autopilot mode for almost 19 minutes before the crash.

Eight seconds before the crash, the SUV was following a vehicle and traveling about 65 miles per hour.

The report said the vehicle was moving at about 71 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone when the crash occurred, and the "traffic-aware cruise control" was set at 75 mph.

Huang was using Tesla's Autopilot system continuously for almost 19 minutes prior to the crash. One second later, the model "began a left steering movement" while still following the lead vehicle. Huang's hands were detected on the wheel three times in the 60 seconds before the crash, though his hands were not detected on the wheel for the six seconds before the collision. Shortly after the tragic incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched a formal investigation into the matter to determine how much fault, if any, lied with Tesla's Autopilot system. The attenuator had been damaged 11 days earlier in a previous accident and hadn't been repaired, according to NTSB.

Two consumer advocacy groups charged May 23 that Tesla's promotional material on Autopilot are deceptive. Federal agencies are investigating two other crashes in which Teslas ran into stopped fire department vehicles.

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"The focus isn't Tesla's technology", he said.

Tesla's system may have a problem spotting or stopping for stationary objects.

In January, a Tesla Model S that may have been on autopilot hit a parked firetruck on Interstate 405 near Los Angeles. "We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash".

It serves as a tragic reminder that drivers need to always pay attention when using Autopilot and be ready to take control at all time.

The man, identified as Apple engineer Wei "Walter" Huang, later died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The crash still remains under investigation, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans.

The report concluded that the Tesla did not attempt to brake or steer clear of the barrier. Tesla vehicles also have an automatic emergency braking feature that is created to slow a vehicle to avoid or lessen the impact of a collision.

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