Monday, June 11, 2018
The U.S. NTSB dissects March 23 Tesla crash, uncovers dilemma
The National Transportation Safety Board’s widely anticipated preliminary report on the crash of a 2017 Tesla Model X on March 23 in California is out.
The review of the Mountain View accident remains “preliminary” and the NTSB offers neither a probable cause nor any recommended fixes. The play-by-play chronology leading up to the crash compiled by the NTSB is riveting. Based on the performance data downloaded from the vehicle is, here’s what the safety regulator wrote in its report:
The Autopilot system was engaged on four separate occasions during the 32-minute trip, including continuous operation for the last 18 minutes 55 seconds prior to the crash.
During this almost 19-minute segment, the vehicle provided two visual alerts and one auditory alert for the driver to take the steering wheel. These alerts came more than 15 minutes before the crash.
In the 60 seconds prior to the crash, the driver’s hands were detected on the steering wheel on three separate occasions for a total of 34 seconds. For the last six seconds before the crash, the vehicle didn’t detect any hands on the wheel.
At eight seconds before impact, the Tesla was behind a lead vehicle, traveling about 65 mph.
Seven seconds before the crash, the Tesla began to steer left, following the lead vehicle.
At four seconds, the Tesla was no longer following its leader.
From three seconds prior to the moment of impact with the crash attenuator, Tesla speeded up from 62 to 70.8 mph. No pre-crash braking or evasive steering was recorded.
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