Tesla driver in Utah ‘Autopilot’ crash had hands off wheel: Tesla - http://earlyretireonline.com | how to earn money fastMay 17, 2018 12:09 am
Categorised in: Breaking Financial News
A woman driving a Tesla that crashed into the back of a fire truck in Utah had frequently taken her hands off the wheel while the car was on “Autopilot,” including at the time of the crash, Tesla told police.
“The vehicle registered more than a dozen instances of her hands being off the steering wheel in this drive cycle,” South Jordan police said in a news release, citing Tesla’s investigation report.
“On two such occasions, she had her hands off the wheel for more than one minute each time and her hands came back on only after a visual alert was provided. Each time she put her hands back on the wheel, she took them back off the wheel after a few seconds.”
When the 28-year-old woman ultimately smashed the Model S sedan into the fire truck stopped at a red light on a highway on May 11, her hands had been off the wheel for more than a minute, police said, citing Tesla.
“This is consistent with her admission that she was looking at her phone at the time,” police said.
The driver had been using the “Autosteer” and “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” functions of Autopilot, Tesla reported to police.
She and the fire truck driver received minor injuries, police said.
The report appears to highlight a serious problem with the semi-autonomous-driving system the Palo Alto electric car maker controversially chose to call “Autopilot”: humans.
The Autopilot system includes visual and audio warnings to drivers when they remove their hands from the wheel. After a fatal Tesla Model X crash on Highway 101 in Mountain View in March, Tesla reported that the driver of that car had been warned repeatedly during the trip to put his hands on the wheel, and that his hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds before the collision. The family of driver Walter Huang alleged that he had taken the car in to the dealer several times, and had complained that Autopilot kept steering him toward the same barrier he ended up hitting.
In January, a Model S hit a parked fire truck on a Southern California freeway, with the firefighters’ union saying the driver said Autopilot had been on at the time of the crash.
In 2016, the driver of a Model S was killed when the car crashed into a semi-truck in Florida. 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.
Also, the Autopilot technology that monitors whether a driver has their hands on the steering wheel isn’t a good way to tell if the driver is paying attention, the NTSB said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent an investigations team to Utah to probe the May 11 wreck, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.