Data from a Tesla electric vehicle confirms that a Utah driver had engaged the car's semi-autonomous Autopilot functions before she slammed into the back of a fire truck last week.
"Consistent with NHTSA's oversight and authority over the safety of all motor vehicles and equipment, the agency has launched its special crash investigations team to gather information on the South Jordan, Utah, crash".
According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the auto claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone.
South Jordan police released a summary of findings from the vehicle Wednesday showing the driver hadn't touched the Model S's steering wheel for 80 seconds before hitting the truck at a red light.
The driver engaged Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control on multiple occasions during this drive cycle. "Each time she put her hands back on the wheel, she took them back off the wheel after a few seconds".
"Contrary to the proper use of Autopilot, the driver did not pay attention to the road at all times, did not keep her hands on the steering wheel, and she used it on a street with no center median and with stoplight controlled intersections", the report said.
A Tesla spokesperson said the company warns drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and remain alert.
San Francisco: Tesla chief Elon Musk defended self-driving auto technology on Tuesday after reports about the latest crash involving one of the electric carmaker's vehicles. This is the speed the driver selected.
Tesla has released several statements on the accident, including a March 30 blog post that expressed sorrow for the family but defended its technology and pointed responsibility for the crash on the driver.
The Autopilot system includes visual and audio warnings to drivers when they remove their hands from the wheel. "Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the vehicle impervious to all accidents".
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent its special crash investigations team to the state, the agency said as details about the Friday evening crash became public Wednesday.
Federal officials blamed the truck's driver for failing to yield, on the driver for relying too heavily on Autopilot, and on Elon Musk-led Tesla - the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that Autopilot contributed to the crash by allowing lengthy disengagement from the driving process, on a roadway unsuitable for the semi-autonomous-driving system. "Based upon witness information, the driver of the Tesla did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision", a statement from South Jordan Police said.
The report appears to highlight a serious problem with the semi-autonomous-driving system the Palo Alto electric vehicle maker controversially chose to call "Autopilot": humans.
With those types of crashes, people often bring up the fact that there's a defect because the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system didn't prevent the crash, but it is not created to stop crashes in all conditions.