Software Technology

Tesla autopilot caused the first fatal accident. Driver is death.

The first fatal accident involving an autonomous driving car happened in the United States. In Florida, a model Tesla S collide with in a truck. The driver is dead. Apparently the technology the truck failed to recognize the driver has not intervened. How could this happen?

The tragic accident occurred on a highway to Florida. There was the driver of a Tesla S in autopilot mode, when suddenly a white semitrailer crossed its lane. Neither driver nor autopilot realized that. The disastrous consequences: The car raced through under the truck, so that the upper part of the passenger compartment and the windshield was demolished. The driver died in the collision.

The camera of the autopilot failed?

“It is the first known deadly crash in just over 130 million miles”, writes Tesla in a blog. How this could happen? Trying to figure out the US road traffic safety authority NHTSA.

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Photo: Tesla

A hypothesis: The camera of the autopilot could not distinguish the white-coated side of the truck from the blinding sky behind it. Thus she would have perceived obstacle and warn the driver nor initiated a braking.

The driver ignored the user notes?

A second possibility: The driver has not observed the user instructions for the autopilot, which is still in beta stage. Tesla obliges the owner that he always keeps hands even when driving with the autopilot on the handlebars, to intervene quickly in case of emergency. Has perhaps forgotten the victims and dealing instead with the Smartphone?

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Photo: Tesla

This is a possibility. Since last year, it was announced that user push mischief with the autopilot. Numerous YouTube videos showing drivers hands-free driving and rushing into the oncoming traffic.

Victim was a friend of Tesla

In a disruptions, Tesla expressed sympathy to the surviving dependents of the victim. “He was a friend of Tesla and the electric vehicle community overall, a person who has spent her life focused on innovation and the promise of the technology, and who has believed in Tesla’s mission.” However, Tesla is called victim’s name nor the date of the accident.

Tesla autopilot fatal accident
Eine Kamera erkennt Autos, die am Tesla S vorbeifahren. Normalerweise. Es könnte sein, dass sie die weiße Seite des Lkw nicht vom taghellen Himmel unterscheiden konnte. Foto: Tesla A camera detects cars that drive past the Tesla S. Normally. It could be that she could not distinguish the White side of the truck from the blinding sky. Photo: Tesla

It is certain: Tesla will now have to do a lot to improve the image of its autopilot again. The stock of the company to billionaire Elon Musk has fallen after the announcement of the accident by 3.2%. But Tesla is confident: “likelihood of injury will decline further. The autopilot is running better, but not perfect, and still requires that the driver is aware.”