Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



NHTSA Investigation Finds No Tesla Autopilot Defect In Fatal Crash

This week, NHTSA closed its investigation into the crash that killed Joshua Brown, saying its staff “did not identify any defects.” In response, the company issued a brief statement. “At Tesla, the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion.”

Originally published on Gas2.

Last May, former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown was killed when his Model S slammed broadside into a tractor trailer while operating in Tesla Autopilot mode. The fatality sent shockwaves throughout the automotive world. Since it was the first known fatality involving self driving technology, it called into question whether such systems were safe.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration opened an investigation and called upon Tesla to supply it with details about how the Tesla Autopilot system worked. The media caught wind of this and began to spin it into a whirlwind of misinformation, speculation, and fear.

Shortly after the crash, Tesla and MobilEye — the Israeli company that helped Tesla develop the Autopilot system and supplied the camera used by it — had a parting of the ways. Some months later, German officials labeled Tesla Autopilot “a considerable traffic hazard” and called for it to be banned.

This week, NHTSA closed its investigation into the crash that killed Joshua Brown, saying its staff “did not identify any defects.” In response, the company issued a brief statement. “At Tesla, the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion.”

Among other findings, the report made several references to the Tesla Automatic Enhanced Braking system, saying it can reduce rear end collisions by 40%. If such systems were required throughout the industry, the agency believes 28,000 crashes a year could be avoided leading to 12,000 fewer traffic injuries in the United States. Elon Musk was quick to tweet the good news.

Elon has been one of the most active proponents for self driving systems, claiming they can largely eliminate highway fatalities once in general use. As tragic as the Joshua Brown fatality was, it spurred Musk and Tesla engineers on to even greater technological feats.

The company totally redesigned the Autopilot software subsequent to Brown’s death, de-emphasizing the importance of the forward facing camera and putting more reliance on forward looking radar that can actually “see” under and around the car ahead to detect dangerous situations before the driver is even aware of them.

Tesla should get credit for the aesthetics of its self driving hardware, too. Every other company uses blisters and bubbles mounted to roofs, hoods, or side view mirrors to enclose their hardware. The sensors for the Tesla Autopilot are fully integrated into the exterior of the car and cause no unsightly blemishes at all. A small thing, perhaps, but an important one. Nobody wants to be seen driving something that looks like a clown car that escaped from the circus.

One last thing. The second generation hardware package Tesla has developed contains all the pieces necessary for fully autonomous cars capable of driving from coast to coast without human input. All it will take is a software update, which will be ready just as soon as regulatory approval is obtained.

Now that NHTSA has absolved Autopilot from any blame for the Joshua Brown tragedy and heaped praise on self driving technology for its ability to cut down on injuries and deaths from highway accidents, it seems that approval is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Source: AutoBlog

Reprinted with permission.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


You May Also Like

Autonomous Vehicles

Tesla says it is ready to roll out a new update for its Full Self Driving Beta system that will address a recall by...

Autonomous Vehicles

Tesla is in the news this week, thanks to statements by Sandy Munro and Pete Buttigieg. One thinks Musk is a genius, the other...

Autonomous Vehicles

By Jim Ringold Originally included in the Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) suite was Tesla’s rather basic highway program. It worked okay for rather simple...

Autonomous Vehicles

NHTSA has initiated a recall for Tesla Full Self Driving software that lists 4 specific areas of concern. An OTA is expected on April...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.