Aftermath of the Deadly Tesla Autopilot Crash

Witnesses to the aftermath of deadly Tesla said Autopilot continued to drive the Model S for hundreds of yards.

Details continue to emerge about the fatal car accident involving a Tesla Model S driving on Autopilot and a tractor trailer on May 7, 2016 in Williston, Fla.

ABC Action News talked to witnesses of the crash that killed Joshua Brown, the 40-year-old driver of the Model S. One of those witnesses is Bobby Vankavelaar. The mangled Model S, which had its roof ripped off, ended up in Vankavelaar’s front yard and stopped a few feet from the front door.

“It could’ve been a lot worse that car could’ve taken him right to my house, my front door is right there. My kids are usually out here playing softball. They won’t even come out here no more they are so scared.”

Back to the Future Autonomous Driving in 1995

Vankavelaar said the car traveled “hundreds of yards from the point of impact, through a fence into an open field, through another fence and then avoiding a bank of trees before being unable to swerve and miss a power pole that eventually stopped the car a few feet away.”

Another witness told Vankavelaar that she was driving 85 MPH and was passed by Brown in the Model S. As Action News points out, this information hasn’t been released by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Every time Vankavelaar mows his grass he finds new debris from the crash.  A few weeks ago he found the car’s right headlight. 

Frank Baressi, the 62-year-old driver of the tractor trailer, told the Associated Press that the Tesla was driving so quickly that it “went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

It turns out the Autopilot system, which is built by Mobileye, wasn’t designed to handle the scenario that led to this crash.

“Today’s collision avoidance technology, or Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), is defined as rear-end collision avoidance, and is designed specifically for that,” Mobileye said in a statement. “This [fatal] incident involved a laterally crossing vehicle, which current-generation AEB systems are not designed to actuate upon. Mobileye systems will include Lateral Turn Across Path (LTAP) detection capabilities beginning in 2018, and the Euro NCAP safety ratings will include this beginning in 2020.”

[Source:] ABC Action News

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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