Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash Data Acquired by NTSB Is Now Public

Posted June 21, 2017

While the cause of the crash has still not been determined, the 538-page report states that driver Joshua Brown had his hands off the wheel of the Tesla Model S "for the vast majority of the trip".

In January, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had found no evidence of defects in the vehicle. Drivers will still be able to use Autopilot after they've stopped and re-started their vehicle, but at least for the current trip they'd be out of luck and have to drive their auto manually like the rest of us.

The report said that the auto remained in autopilot mode for most of his trip and that it gave him a visual warning seven separate times that said "hands required not detected".

Joshua Brown, the Tesla driver killed a year ago while using the semi-autonomous Autopilot mode on his Model S, received several visual and audio warnings to take control of the vehicle before he was killed, according to a report form the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Just a white cloud, like just a big white explosion, " said Terrence Mulligan, a witness who saw the impact and rushed to where the electric vehicle came to rest, told investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board. The crash raised eyebrows about the safety of new automated driving features when used during long stretches of driving.

Tesla has since added additional systems to the Autopilot to make it even safer. The upgrade also prevents drivers from using autopilot mode if they fail to respond to computerized prompts from the system.

In six cases, the system then sounded a chime.

The documents, which include a crash reconstruction report, encompass various aspects of the investigation, including highway design, vehicle performance, and human performance. The administration announced it would not order a recall and said Brown had ignored the in-vehicle warnings telling him he needed to keep his hands on the wheel. They say that "analysis, findings, recommendations, and probable cause determinations related to the crash will be issued by the Board at a later date". The impact killed the Tesla driver, Joshua Brown, who had set the auto to a speed of 74 miles an hour in a zone limited to 65 miles per hour.

The driver of the truck had had his license suspended five times between 1984 and 2013 for violations including speeding and failure to appear in court, according to NTSB. Brown's family has not taken legal action against Tesla.