Tesla driver in fatal 'Autopilot' crash got numerous warnings -U.S. govt


UPDATE 1-Tesla driver in fatal 'Autopilot' crash got numerous warnings -U.S. govt

(Adds Brown family lawyer comment)
    By David ShepardsonWASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - A man killed in a crash last
year while using the semi-autonomous driving system on his Tesla
Model S sedan kept his hands off the wheel for extended periods
of time despite repeated automated warnings not to do so, a U.S.
government report said on Monday
    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released 500
pages of findings into the May 2016 death of Joshua Brown, a
former Navy SEAL, near Williston, Florida. Brown's Model S
collided with a truck while it was engaged in the "Autopilot"
mode and he was killed.
    A Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> spokeswoman Tesla spokeswoman Keely
Sulprizio declined to comment on the NTSB report. In 2016, the
company said Autopilot "does not allow the driver to abdicate
responsibility," however.
    Brown family lawyer Jack Landskroner said in an email the
NTSB's findings should put to rest previous media reports that
Brown was watching a movie at the time of the crash, which he
called "unequivocally false."
    He added that the family has not taken any legal action
against Tesla and was still reviewing the NTSB report.
    The incident raised questions about the safety of systems
that can perform driving tasks for long stretches with little or
no human intervention, but which cannot completely replace human
    During a 37-minute period of the trip when Brown was
required to have his hands on the wheel, he apparently did so
for just 25 seconds, the NTSB said in the report.
    The report said the Autopilot mode remained on during most
of his trip and that it gave him to a visual warning seven
separate times that said "Hands Required Not Detected."
    In six cases, the system then sounded a chime before it
returned to "Hands Required Detected" for one to three second
    Tesla in September unveiled improvements in Autopilot,
adding new limits on hands-off driving and other features that
its chief executive officer said likely would have prevented the
crash death. The updated system temporarily prevents drivers
from using the system if they do not respond to audible warnings
to take back control of the car.
    The NTSB makes safety recommendations but cannot order
    In January, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) said it had found no evidence of defects
in the aftermath of Brown's death.
    NHTSA said Brown did not apply the brakes and his last
action was to set the cruise control at 74 miles (119 km) per
hour less than two minutes before the crash -- above the 65 mph
speed limit.
    The agency said the truck should have been visible to Brown
for at least seven seconds before impact. Brown "took no
braking, steering or other actions to avoid the collision," the
report said.
    A Florida Highway Patrol spokesman said the truck driver was
charged with a right of way traffic violation. He is due for a
court hearing on Wednesday.
    The NTSB report disclosed that the Tesla Model S uses a
proprietary system to record a vehicle's speed and other data,
which authorities cannot access with the commercial tools used
to access information from event data recorders in most other
    For that reason, the NTSB said it "had to rely on Tesla to
provide the data in engineering units using proprietary
manufacturer software."

 (Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Bernie
Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by Tom Brown)
 ((David.Shepardson@thomsonreuters.com; 2028988324;))


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Referenced Symbols: TSLA

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