Tesla 'autopilot' increased car's speed before fatal crash, says report

Tesla 'autopilot' increased car's speed before fatal crash, says report

The NTSB's preliminary findings of the investigation from which it excluded Tesla don't look good for Elon Musk's electric-vehicle company.

A preliminary report was made available by the National Transportation Safety Board detailing the moments before and after the March crash near Mountain View, California. That left the vehicle in a so-called "gore area", a triangular region of pavement between highway lanes and an exit ramp.

According to the report, "As the Tesla approached the paved gore area dividing the main travel lanes of US-101 from the SH-85 exit ramp, it moved to the left and entered the gore area". His hands were not on the wheel, the report says, for the 6 seconds before impact.

It likely will take more than a year to determine what caused the crash, NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil said Thursday.

Tesla's owner's manual warns drivers that the system may not detect stationary objects when traveling at higher speeds. But that device had been damaged in a previous crash on March 12.

"This is going to sound a little chessy but at Tesla, we build our vehicle with love", he said emotionally, clearly holding back tears. It also noted it found complaints about the system from other Tesla owners involving navigational errors.

Tensions in the NTSB probe boiled over on April 11 when Tesla released information about the accident without first clearing it with investigators, prompting the NTSB to take the unusual action of removing the auto company from official participation. In April, a woman in Utah crashed her Model S traveling at 60 miles per hour into a fire truck while using Autopilot. NTSB, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a regulatory agency that can seek recalls and fine automakers, are investigating that crash. The Model 3 is the vehicle that is supposed to bring Tesla into the mainstream with the company making it more attainable and affordable for the average consumer.

The company said it empathizes with the family's grief, "but the false impression that Autopilot is unsafe will cause harm to others on the road".

A Tesla spokeswoman pointed to passages in the company's owners' manual warning that automatic emergency braking is created to reduce severity of a crash and isn't created to avoid a collision.

All three directors seeking to remain on Tesla's nine-member board were re-elected during the company's annual meeting held on Tuesday in Mountain View, California.

However, he also joked that he has an 'issue with time, ' referring to his overly optimistic and often missed production target dates.

It took firefighters almost 10 minutes to put out the fire with roughly 200 gallons of water and foam. Five days later, the electric car's high-voltage battery reignited and the fire department had to extinguish the blaze. "The battery was monitored with a thermal imaging camera, but no active fire operations were conducted".

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