Second US Safety Agency to Investigate Tesla 'Autopilot' Crash
Second US Safety Agency to Investigate Tesla 'Autopilot' Crash
CULVER CITY FIREFIGHTERS
26 January, 2018, 02:37
Tesla wouldn't say if Autopilot was working at the time of the Culver City crash, but said in a statement Monday that drivers must stay attentive when it's in use.
Tesla did release an update to its self-driving mode recently that made the vehicle stop itself if it detected that the driver's hands were not on the wheel while the vehicle was moving. In that case, a Model S driver died after the auto drove underneath a semi-trailer crossing a divided road that the Autopilot's sensors failed to detect. The investigators will focus on the driver's actions and how the vehicle performed, O'Neil said.
The inquiry is the second by the safety agency into a crash involving Tesla's Autopilot feature.
When talking about self-driving technology systems, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has adopted the levels established by the Society of Automotive Engineers, ranging from complete driver control at Level 0 to full autonomy, including extreme environments and conditions, like dirt roads and heavy storms, at Level 5.
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However, the agency also said human shortcomings were to blame.
The irony, say autonomous vehicle proponents, is that fact that federal data show about 93% of fatal crashes are the result of human error. The truck was unoccupied at the time, and no injuries were claimed by anyone at the crash scene, according to the CHP. NHTSA, which regulates auto safety, declined previous year to issue a recall or fine Tesla as a result of the crash, but it warned automakers they aren't to treat semi-autonomous cars as if they were fully self-driving. With level 2 systems, drivers are supposed to continuously monitor vehicle performance and be ready to take control if necessary. This allows drivers to hand over certain tasks, such as lane keeping assistance, to the vehicle's onboard computers. If the warnings are ignored, drivers would be prevented from using Autopilot, the company has said.
While vehicle companies and experts insist self-driving cars will be much safer than those with human drivers, accidents involving autonomous or semi-autonomous features will likely continue to attract attention, scare potential customers, and possibly make it more hard for auto companies to get the necessary regulatory approval for self-driving cars to become a reality. That has helped the automaker counter claims by drivers in several other incidents who apparently tried to diminish their own responsibility by claiming an Autopilot malfunction.
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