The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with another federal agency is pressing for data release to show what led to the recent Tesla Model X crash, which resulted in a fatality, in Mountain View, California.
On March 23, 2018, Apple engineer, Wei Huang died after his Tesla Model X collided into a concrete barrier on southbound US-101. At the time of the accident, it was revealed that the vehicle was operating in its Autopilot mode. Further, according to Tesla’s blog, Huang did not have his hands on the wheel during the six seconds before the collision occurred.
The problem, according to NTSB, is in the data release and the lack of cooperation from Tesla in decoding the data.
According to a March 30 post on its blog, Tesla stated that the driver had received several visual and one audio warning to return his hands to the steering wheel. Tesla also claimed that the safety barrier did little to protect the driver at the time of impact. However, the barrier was reported as having collapsed as it was designed to do.
The victim’s family also reported that Huang had made several complaints with his Tesla dealer after he experienced his car veering off the same area of road while he was operating it on Autopilot mode, but the company claims that service records show these complaints were never made.
The Autopilot mode is Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system, which is what the victim’s family claim caused the accident, although the company argues it is unrelated to the navigation of the car. It is not known currently which lane the driver was in leading up to the accident or how the car ended up between the southbound and carpool lane flyover lane to Highway 85. For Huang to get to that lane, the car would have had to leave its lane, crossing a solid white line into traffic.
The federal agency is expected to release a preliminary report in the next couple of weeks as more details emerge as to exactly what led to this tragic accident.
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