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Tesla on Autopilot crashed when the driver's hands were not detected on the wheel



The crash, which happened March 1 in Florida, left the 50-year-old Tesla driver dead. Authorities revealed new details about the incident on Thursday. The driver turned on the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the Model 3 sedan collided with a semi truck, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The Tesla driver's hands were not detected on the steering wheel for less than eight seconds prior. The truck driver was uninjured.

The NTSB's report did not indicate the Tesla driver was at fault and said the investigation is ongoing. But the news raises more questions about Tesla's marketing of Autopilot, the company's semi-autonomous driving software.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long been promised that full self-driving capability is on the way – but it's not here yet. And critics argue that slapping the "autopilot" name onto a driver-assistance feature can make a false sense of security, making them less likely to stay fully alert and more vulnerable to a crash.

Tesla has consistently defended its Autopilot feature.

"Tesla drivers have logged more than one trillion miles with Autopilot and their data shows that, when used properly, they are prepared to take over at all times, drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those operating without assistance," the company said in a Thursday statement.

A separate vehicle safety report from Tesla shows that in the first quarter of the year it was one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot For those driving with Autopilot, there was one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven.
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Several crashes have occurred in the past while Tesla's Autopilot function has been engaged, including a few fatal incidents.

For example, one crash – also in Florida, and one in Tesla and a tractor trailer – killed in Tesla driver in 2016. His Model S crashed while Autopilot was active, and authorities said the driver two minutes.
Earlier this month, the family of an Apple engineer says it is suing the automaker. They blamed the Autopilot feature on his Tesla for his death. Tesla had said it was determined that the driver was not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. The company declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Tesla's Autopilot function has been developed in the past, and has become more advanced. It's also designed to work on certain roads, and drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

But it is possible for a driver to touch the steering wheel without detecting it.

The Model is a tool that can be used as a tool in the field of driving a vehicle or a vehicle. steering wheel button or scroll wheel also qualified for your hands being detected. "

Bugfix: A previous version of this story said the driver's hands were not on the wheel. In fact, it's possible that the driver's hands were on the wheel but the system did not detect them. Additionally, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified the model of Tesla involved in the 2016 crash.

CNN Business' Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report.


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