Tesla on Autopilot Involved in Fatal Crash

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 July 2016
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A Tesla S at a charging station

A Tesla S at a charging station

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the driver of a Tesla automobile, operating the car in autopilot mode, died in a crash in May. The accident is believed to be the first death in a self-driving car.

Joshua Brown of Canton, Ohio was driving a Tesla Model S on a highway in Williston, Florida when both he and the car failed to respond to a tractor-trailer’s making a left turn in front of them. The car’s autopilot system failed to apply brakes as did the driver.

The agency has opened a formal investigation into the accident, which took place on May 7.

In a statement, Tesla said that the autopilot system “is new technology and still in a public beta phase.”

The driver, according to Tesla, was a Navy veteran “who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission.”

The crash is the first reported fatal accident involving a vehicle being driven using a combination of computer software, sensors, radar, and cameras.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)