Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Business | By Pearl Harrison

NTSB updates on fatal Model X crash

NTSB updates on fatal Model X crash

The report said the driver in the March incident got warnings to put his hands back on the wheel more than 15 minutes before the crash. The Tesla's driver was found belted in his seat, and bystanders removed him from the vehicle before it was engulfed in flames.

The driver was taken to the hospital where he died.

It's been tough times for Tesla's Autopilot for the last few months after a number of crashes involving the technology, some of which were fatal, made the news. The NTSB says it now will examine the cause of the crash. It is not a driverless system but is often treated as one by drivers.

Tesla on Thursday declined to comment beyond its March blog post.

Following the crash, the Mountain View Fire Department applied about 200 gallons of water and foam to extinguish the post-crash fire. Recovered data showed that Huang, an engineer for Apple, received alerts from the vehicle to place his hands on the steering wheel more than 15 minutes before the crash. It is unclear why the alerts did not continue. But they weren't detected on the wheel during the last six seconds, the NTSB said. In April, Tesla said it was making 2,270 vehicles a week. A more advanced Summon feature has always been planned by Tesla, however. A second later the Tesla began veering left though it was still trailing the lead vehicle. A second later it accelerated from 62 miles per hour to 70.8 miles per hour "with no pre-crash braking or evasive steering movement detected", the report said.

The recently unveiled Semi truck and Roadster sports auto will arrive around the same time, according to Musk, both with better performance than originally announced, which included a 800-km range for the truck and a 400km/h top speed for the Roadster. At that point, it entered a "triangular-shaped boundary" between the main travel lane and an exit lane. Indeed, Tesla could use exterior cameras to send images to small screens inside the vehicle, exactly like Audi's e-tron, a future direct rival for the Model X. The location of the SCI smart cushion crash attenuator system is also identified. But the safety device had been smashed 11 days before by a Toyota Prius.

According to NTSB, the Tesla crashed at 71mph in a section of road with a speed limit of 65mph.

In Tesla's page for its upcoming Full Self-Driving suite, the company makes references to Smart Summon, the capability of HW2 vehicles to navigate more complex environments and parking spaces. They differ on whether Telsa was pushed from the inquiry.

It likely will take more than a year to determine what caused the crash, NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil said Thursday.

Musk also said Tesla will give free trials of Autopilot to Tesla owners who didn't purchase the feature (it costs between $5,000-$6,000) and have the necessary hardware to run it "hopefully next month".

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