NTSB updates on fatal Model X crash

Randal Sanchez
June 8, 2018

At this point, the NTSB has yet to determine a probable cause of the crash and is continuing to investigate the accident.

The preliminary report didn't include conclusions about what caused the crash. A second later it accelerated from 62 miles per hour to 70.8 miles per hour "with no pre-crash braking or evasive steering movement detected", the report said.

The Tesla Model X that crashed in California earlier this year while being guided by its semi-autonomous driving system sped up to 114 km/h in the seconds before the vehicle slammed into a highway barrier, investigators said Thursday.

In context: Tesla has drawn quite a bit of heat lately due to numerous crashes that have occurred with Autopilot engaged.

"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents - such a standard would be impossible - but it makes them much less likely to occur", the company wrote in the post. The driver, Walter Huang, died after being taken to the hospital.

During that time, he engaged the autopilot system four times, including one continuous period of almost 19 minutes.

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Four seconds before the crash, the Tesla "was no longer following a lead vehicle".

In April, a woman in Utah crashed her Model S traveling at 60 miles per hour into a fire truck while using Autopilot. The car's computer didn't sense his hands on the steering wheel for six seconds before the collision, according to NTSB. At the time, a company spokesperson said Tesla meant to file an official complaint with the federal government. Tesla has defended its iterative approach, arguing that its features, in conjunction with attentive humans, are already providing for significantly safer cars.

Following CEO Elon Musk's announcement that the company should meet its Model 3 production goal of 5,000 cars per week this month (as well as a handful of other updates at the annual meeting), Tesla's stock price spiked 9.74% on Wednesday.

Tesla's system may have a problem spotting or stopping for stationary objects. "The focus is on what led to this crash and how do we prevent it from happening again".

In January, a Tesla Model S that may have been on autopilot hit a parked firetruck on Interstate 405 near Los Angeles. Notably, the car's Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of the crash.

Federal investigators in May removed Tesla from the official investigation into the California crash after the automaker seemingly blamed the driver for the crash publicly. The driver in the second incident told authorities she thought Tesla's emergency braking system would stop the auto to avert a collision. Tesla vehicles also have an automatic emergency braking feature that is created to slow a vehicle to avoid or lessen the impact of a collision. "It is the driver's responsibility to drive safely and remain in control of the vehicle at all times", it says.

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