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Tesla Autopilot, distracted driving to blame in deadly 2018 crash

National Transportation Safety Board
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s
the Society of Automotive Engineers
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Walter Huang
Robert Sumwalt
Elon Musk
Thomas Chapman

Michael Graham

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The New York Times
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Filed under:A damaged crash attenuator also contributed to the driver’s deathThe National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system was one of the probable causes of a fatal 2018 crash into a concrete barrier. Had the crash attenuator been replaced, NTSB investigators said Tuesday that the driver, Walter Huang, likely would have survived.The NTSB shared its findings at the end of a three-hour-long hearing on Tuesday. (Huang was playing the mobile game on a company-issued iPhone.) “In this crash we saw an over-reliance on technology, we saw distraction, we saw a lack of policy prohibiting cell phone use while driving, and we saw infrastructure failures, which, when combined, led to this tragic loss,” NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said at the end of the hearing on Tuesday. In addition, the investigators said that Tesla’s method of making sure drivers are paying attention while using Autopilot — using a torque sensor to measure force on the steering wheel — “did not provide an effective means of monitoring the driver’s level of engagement with the driving task.” NTSB investigators also found that the Model X’s forward collision warning system didn’t alert Huang to the coming impact, nor did it slow the vehicle down at all; in fact, the Model X sped up before impact because the system thought it was free to resume the 75 mile per hour cruise control speed Huang had set. The new recommendations were issued to multiple parties, but not to Tesla — perhaps because the company has still not officially responded to the safety board’s recommendations from a 2017 investigation into a different Autopilot-related fatal crash, something Sumwalt criticized Tesla for on Tuesday.Instead, the NTSB appears happy to try to influence the decisions of Tesla and other automakers by asking other government agencies to step in and regulate. If safety defects are identified, they wrote, NHTSA should use its regulatory authority to make sure Tesla “takes corrective action.”The NTSB also asked NHTSA to work with the Society of Automotive Engineers to draw up standards for driver monitoring systems that would “minimize driver disengagement, prevent automation complacency, and account for foreseeable misuse of the automation,” and require that technology in all vehicles with Autopilot-like features.

As said here by Sean O'Kane