The logo on 2018 Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle is shown in Cardiff California

Federal investigators said Thursday that a Tesla Model X traveling on Autopilot in California sped up before crashing into an highway barrier, killing its driver and striking two other cars.

In April, the NTSB removed Tesla as a party to its investigation of Huang's crash after the automaker made public statements. The report found that the vehicle's autopilot system was active for the last 18 minutes and 55 seconds of the ride.

Two consumer advocacy groups charged May 23 that Tesla's promotional material on Autopilot are deceptive.

Investigators blame a mistake made by Tesla's Autopilot system for a mistake that killed Wei "Walter" Huang in a Tesla vehicle crash. But the NTSB said Huang was relying on Autopilot's advanced driver assistance features at the time of the crash: "traffic-aware cruise control", which was set at 75 miles per hour and is meant to keep the vehicle a safe distance from other cars, and "autosteer lane-keeping assistance", which is meant to help guide the auto safely down the highway.

While the technology behind advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot is incredible, and the systems themselves are helpful in many situations, it's important to remember that they aren't ideal and that drivers that are utilizing them need to remain attentive and ready to re-engage at a moment's notice - for their safety and the safety of others.


A spokeswoman for Tesla declined to comment on the report, but offered the company's March 30 response that pointed to the damaged highway barrier as a contributor to the severity of the crash.

"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents - such a standard would be impossible - but it makes them much less likely to occur", the blog post reads.

At 7 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla began a left steering movement while following a lead vehicle.

The Tesla's speed increased - starting three seconds before impact and continuing until the crash - from 62 to 70.8 miles per hour.

The driver's hands were detected on the steering wheel for a total of 34 seconds, on three separate occasions, in the 60 seconds before impact. But that device had been damaged in a previous crash on March 12.


In January, a Tesla Model S that may have been on autopilot hit a parked firetruck on Interstate 405 near Los Angeles. "The focus is on what led to this crash and how do we prevent it from happening again". Notably, the car's Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of the crash.

The report concluded that the Tesla did not attempt to brake or steer clear of the barrier. The Tesla driver suffered fatal injuries while the driver of the Mazda suffered minor injuries and the driver of the Audi was not injured.

The Tesla collided with a so-called crash attenuator, a device covering the concrete barrier that's created to absorb a vehicle impact to lower risks of damage and injuries.

In the Mountain View-area crash, the NTSB also is investigating fires that broke out in the SUV's batteries after the crash.


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