The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system was one of the likely causes of a fatal crash of 2018 in a concrete crash barrier. In addition, the safety board said the driver was playing a mobile game while using Autopilot before the crash, and investigators also decided that he was too confident about Autopilot’s capabilities.
After a two-year investigation into the crash, the Security Council came to those probable causes. NTSB researchers also mentioned a number of contributing factors, including that the crash damper for the barrier had been damaged and had not been repaired in time by Caltrans, California’s transportation department. If the crash damper had been replaced, NTSB researchers said Tuesday that the driver, Walter Huang, would probably have survived.
The NTSB shared its findings at the end of a three-hour hearing on Tuesday. At the hearing, board members struggled with Tesla’s approach to reducing the abuse of Autopilot, the lax approach of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for regulating partial automation technology, and Apple – the Huang employer – because they had no distracted driving policies. (Huang played the mobile game on an iPhone issued by the company.)
“In this crash we saw excessive dependence on technology, we saw distractions, we saw a lack of policies that prohibited the use of mobile phones while driving, and we saw infrastructure failures that, in combination, led to this tragic loss, “Chairman NTSB Robert Sumwalt said at the end of the hearing on Tuesday. “We urge Tesla to continue working on improving their Autopilot technology and for NHTSA to fulfill its supervisory responsibility to ensure corrective action is taken where necessary. It is time to stop engaging drivers in a partially automated vehicle to pretend they have cars without a driver. “
The development of …