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NTSB Holds Hearing On Deadly Crash Involving Tesla Autopilot

12 Septembre 2017

"Today's automation systems augment, rather than replace human drivers".

Investigators are meeting to determine the likely cause of a crash a year ago that killed a man using the semiautonomous driving systems of his Tesla Model S sedan. The case has raised questions about the ability of automakers to keep the attention of drivers engaged as new technology allows them to cede greater control to their vehicles.

The chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Tuesday "operational limitations" in the Tesla Model S played a "major role" in a May 2016 crash that killed a driver using the vehicle's semi-autonomous "Autopilot" system.

It's the first known fatal crash of a highway vehicle operating under automated control systems. Though the NTSB does not have regulatory powers, its recommendations do carry weight with regulators, according to commentators.

Tech company owner Joshua Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, was using the sedan's cruise control and lane-keeping features, part of Tesla's Autopilot system, when he was killed in the May 7, 2016, crash.

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Autopilot has torque sensors on the steering wheel that detect whether the driver is holding it.

Tesla said in June 2016 that Autopilot "is not flawless and still requires the driver to remain alert". The cameras on Brown's sedan failed to distinguish the white side of the semitrailer from the bright sky, Tesla said at the time.

A spokeswoman for Tesla and a lawyer for the family, Jack Landskroner, have declined to say if the automaker had reached a legal settlement with the Brown family.

The Autopilot system failed to detect a semi truck crossing an intersection in front of the vehicle, and the auto collided with the truck's trailer, killing the driver.

NTSB Holds Hearing On Deadly Crash Involving Tesla Autopilot