Investigators say Tesla Autopilot sped up before fatal Model X crash


According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Huang complained to his family earlier that his 2017 Tesla Model X had attempted to veer into the barrier while on Autopilot before. Though the Model X driver was pulled from the auto before it caught fire, he tragically did not manage to survive the accident.

Tesla has faced criticism for calling its system Autopilot because the name implies the auto can drive on its own. People familiar with the matter, however, noted that the NTSB was the one which opted to terminate its collaboration with Tesla, according to a Bloomberg report. A second later, the auto began to steer left while still following the lead vehicle.

Investigators said that the Model X didn't attempt to brake or steer clear of the crash. "All aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes", the report said. And last month, a Tesla Model S in autopilot mode hit a stopped fire department vehicle in Salt Lake City. Three seconds before the crash, the Model X increased its speed from 62 miles per hour (100 km/h) to 70.8 miles per hour (114 km/h).

The report said the vehicle was moving at about 71 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone when the crash occurred, and the "traffic-aware cruise control" was set at 75 mph. NTSB, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a regulatory agency that can seek recalls and fine automakers, are investigating that crash.

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It's also worth noting that Tesla has made numerous updates to Autopilot since the crash in March, so the version of the software that was being used by Mr. Huang's vehicle is no longer in service. Among the information Tesla released was that the driver did not have his hands on the wheel during the final 6 seconds leading up to the accident - information that has been reiterated in the NTSB's preliminary report.

The driver was taken to the hospital where he died. Musk has been highly critical of media reports on Autopilot-related crashes. The woman sustained minor injuries.

Then, seven seconds before the crash, the Tesla began drifting left to align with the lead vehicle as it headed into a left-side exit.

"The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe", Tesla's March blog post said. "Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision". The NTSB's preliminary report provided details about the circumstances leading up the accident, as well as observations about the all-electric SUV's battery pack five days after the crash.