New details about the fatal Tesla Autopilot accident reveal the driver's last minutes (TSLA)

Autopilot accident 12

More details about the fatal Tesla Autopilot accident that occurred in May 2016 were released on Monday. 

The National Transportation Safety Board Office of Public Affairs (NTSB) began its investigation into the accident in July of last year. And while the investigation is still underway, the agency decided to publish about 500 pages of the data it had collected about the Autopilot accident online. The data includes technical reports, transcripts, and images related to the incident. 

Here are some of the new details included in the report.  

  • There was no evidence that Joshua Brown, the driver of the Model S, was using his mobile phone or another electronic device when the crash occurred, as some initial reports suggested. 
  • During the last 41 minutes of Brown's trip, the Model S was in Autopilot for 37.5 minutes, or 90% of the trip.  Brown had his hands off the wheel for a total of 37 minutes during the time the car was in Autopilot. 
  • The Model S displayed the visual warning "Hold steering wheel" seven times during the trip. Six of those warnings were followed by auditory warnings. 
  • The Model S was driving 74 mph down the highway when it was struck by the semi truck. 

The accident occurred on May 7, 2016 in Williston, Florida. 

Tesla said in a blog post published last June that the vehicle was driving down a divided highway when a white semi-truck cut across the highway perpendicular to the Model S.

tesla accident autopilot fatality

"Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against the brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied," Tesla said in its blog post. 

Tesla notified The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) immediately after the accident occurred. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol accident report, the semi-truck was making a left turn at an intersection on the divided highway when it drove directly in front of the Model S as it was driving down the highway in the opposite direction. The Model S passed underneath the truck.

The diagram below from the police report shows how the accident occurred. 

Tesla Accident

While the NTSB has not yet made any conclusions about the cause of the accident, it is expected to share recommendations made on its findings at a later date. 

NHTSA also investigated the Autopilot crash, but ended its investigation in January and said it found no problem with how Autopilot operated. 

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the reports and directed Business Insider to its past statements on the incident


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