According to reports, the driver of the Tesla auto-pilot car was watching a DVD before the fatal crash.
(CCM) — New reports have emerged surrounding the fatal accident involving Tesla's autonomous Model S line back in early May. The accident occurred on a divided highway in central Florida when an 18-wheeler tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. The car then became trapped under the truck, causing it to veer it off course and smash into a pole, killing its driver, Joshua Brown. Initial reports suggested that Brown had been watching a DVD in the moments leading up to the collision, making it very difficult for him to regain control of the car. Police reports confirmed these events early last week, calling into question the vehicle's overall safety as well as the efficiency of its brake and radar systems. A tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggests that the vehicle's radar system did not engage due to confusion caused by the tractor trailer's height that fooled the radar into thinking it was an overhead road sign.
It is hard to say how the Model S's fatal accident will affect the overall future of the autonomous vehicle industry, but immediate reactions from the public seem to be a mix of fear and sympathy. On its side, Tesla is reminding the public that its automated system is not foolproof and that the cars have already driven more than 130 million miles, with only one regrettable accident to date. In a statement on their blog, the company reminds the public that the autopilot feature is merely "an assist feature" and that drivers should "always keep [their] hands on the wheel" and "be prepared to take over at any time."
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