Investigative staff from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are expected to lay partial blame Tesla’s Autopilot system over a fatal 2016 crash involving a Tesla Model S.
Bloomberg reports that the NTSB has recommended that the self-driving system be name a contributing factor as it allowed the driver to travel without steering inputs and the need to even concentrate on the road.
The 2016 incident sent shudders through the industry after it emerged that the Tesla’s Autopilot system was engaged at the time of the crash. In the NTSB’s initial report, it was determined that the truck which pulled out and failed to yield for Tesla driver Joshua Brown was largely to blame for the crash. Brown’s inattention to the road was also named a factor.
In the aftermath of the crash, it was determined that the Autopilot system was unable to distinguish the white side of the truck’s trailer from the bright sky and failed to slow down or attempt to manoeuvre around the truck before impact.
In its investigation, the NTSB discovered that Brown had enabled the Tesla’s cruise control and auto-steering systems for more than 37 minutes of the final 41 minutes of the trip. Additionally, his hands were detected on the steering wheel on just two occasions despite the system prompting him on seven occasions to hold the steering wheel during the drive.
Despite the anticipated findings, the family of Brown remain defiant in their belief that Autopilot played no role in the fatal crash.
“We heard numerous times that the car killed our son. That is simply not the case,” the family said in a statement issued by the Landskroner Grieco Merriman law firm.