After the fatal crash with a Tesla Model X in Autopilot mode on Highway 101 in Mountain View, CA, from March this year, which also led to a battery fire, the NTSB has released a preliminary report of the crash.
A preliminary review of the recorded performance data showed the following:
- The Autopilot system was engaged on four separate occasions during the 32-minute trip, including a continuous operation for the last 18 minutes 55 seconds prior to the crash.
- During the 18-minute 55-second segment, the vehicle provided two visual alerts and one auditory alert for the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel. These alerts were made more than 15 minutes prior to the crash.
- During the 60 seconds prior to the crash, the driver’s hands were detected on the steering wheel on three separate occasions, for a total of 34 seconds; for the last 6 seconds prior to the crash, the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel.
- At 8 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla was following a lead vehicle and was traveling about 65 mph.
- At 7 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla began a left steering movement while following a lead vehicle.
- At 4 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla was no longer following a lead vehicle.
- At 3 seconds prior to the crash and up to the time of impact with the crash attenuator, the Tesla’s speed increased from 62 to 70.8 mph, with no precrash braking or evasive steering movement detected.
The crash also damaged the 400 Volt lithium ion battery, which led to a fire. Emergency responders got the fire under control with water and foam within 10 minutes. But the battery reignited later that afternoon in the depot.
The crash attenuators were only mounted in a short version, as two weeks prior to the Tesla Model X crash another car had a collision at the same location.
The full preliminary report can be found here.
Note: Tesla Autopilot is a driver assist system which requires full attention of a driver all the time and must not be confused with a autonomous driving system.
This article has also been published in German.