The US NHTSA ended an investigation into a fatal accident with a Tesla Model S in Autopilot from May 16th, 2016 and found no fault by the automaker. This is the result of a report published today.
40-year old former Navy Seal Joshua Brown from Ohio was killed when his Tesla collided with a semi truck crossing the highway in Florida, while driving with Autopilot. Aim of the investigation was to find the causes why the Autopilot did not engage breaks..
A first analysis assumed that the side walls of the semi truck were interpreted as direction signs and therefore considered not a cause by the Autopilot for reducing speed. The accident elicited questions about the safety of driver assistance system and whether the Autopilot should have reacted to the situation.
The report released by the NHTSA found no defect or malfunction of the Autopilotsystem, in fact according to driving data the driver had periods of more than seven seconds without reaction. The last one by Brown was increasing the speed to 74mph. The driver, who is supposed to have control over the car all time, did neither brake nor steer to avoid the collision. The is no need for a recall of Tesla’s vehicles.
The NHTSA also cited as a result of its investigation that since the installation of the Autopilot system collisions could be reduced by nearly 40 percent.