Tesla Autopilot crash included at least 7 ignored safety warnings

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Tesla Model S P100D

Tesla has since added additional systems to the Autopilot to make it even safer.

Tesla has touted the safety of its Autopilot mode, even while adding and improving the safety of the system. You may remember almost exactly a year ago, a Tesla driver was killed when his Autopilot controlled vehicle slammed into the side of a truck. It seemed pretty clear that the driver was horribly distracted, watching Harry Potter on a portable DVD player instead of watching the road, but recent investigations show just how many safety warnings were ignored in this Tesla Autopilot crash.

Investigators have been digging through the data and other associated evidence from the crash, and it seems the driver had no intention of paying attention to the road at all:

Brown’s final drive in his Tesla lasted 41 minutes, according to the NTSB. Of those 41 minutes, 37 were spent with the autopilot enabled.

If that weren’t enough, vehicle logs show that he ignored six audible warnings to keep his hands on the steering wheel. Seven visual warnings were also displayed on the Tesla dashboard, all of which were ignored. The driver, in fact, manually increased the speed of the vehicle several minutes before the crash. The report also indicated that no effort was made to slow, steer, or avoid the accident with the truck.

Tesla has since added additional systems to the Autopilot to make it even safer. A tiered “strike” system has been added, where the Autopilot system will be disabled after safety warnings are ignored. Drivers will still be able to use Autopilot after they’ve stopped and re-started their car, but at least for the current trip they’d be out of luck and have to drive their car manually like the rest of us.

What do you think? Are you surprised that the driver ignored so many warnings? Is Tesla doing enough to avoid these types of issues in the future? Tell us what you think in the comment section below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: The Washington Post
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