Economy

Elon Musk defends Tesla's self-driving cars after new crash

Elon Musk defends Tesla's self-driving cars after new crash”

The family of driver Walter Huang alleged that he had taken the auto in to the dealer several times, and had complained that Autopilot kept steering him toward the same barrier he ended up hitting.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Wednesday that it was sending a team to investigate the crash of a Tesla Inc. vehicle last week in Utah that the driver said occurred while the auto was in autopilot mode.

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.

The driver engaged Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control on multiple occasions during this drive cycle.

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.

Police said the driver not only failed to abide by the guidelines of Autopilot use but also engaged the system on a street with no center median and with stop lights.

The Tesla report also noted that instructions provided to drivers about their vehicle's automation features expressly instruct that they maintain attention, and hands on the wheel, at all times. On two occasions, the driver had her hands off the wheel for more than a minute each time, reengaging briefly with the steering wheel only after a visual alert from the auto. She manually pressed on the brake just before the crash. She did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds until the crash happened; this is consistent with her admission that she was looking at her phone at the time.

The auto was programmed by the driver to travel at 60 miles per hour.

Using cameras and radar that can peer 250 meters ahead of a auto, Tesla's driver-assist software is created to track traffic conditions, keeping vehicles in their lane and changing speeds according to the speed of surrounding cars.

Last week, the NTSB began investigating an accident involving a Model S that killed two teenagers in Florida after it crashed into a wall.

The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which led to the death of a 38-year-old father of two, Walter Huang.

The agency said the fire, which may have been exacerbated by the vehicle's battery, is the focus of the investigation, not the vehicle's semiautonomous system. The vehicle was in Autopilot mode when it slammed into a concrete barrier that divided a busy Silicon Valley highway.



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