NHTSA finally gave a clear chit to Tesla’s autopilot. The thorough investigation that lasted for six months found no such fault in the system that could become a cause of the fatal incident. The agency has therefore decided to close the case without any need for recalling Tesla.
The incident took place when the Tesla Model S was traveling in an Autopilot mode along a highway. The system could not detect a tractor trailer, reportedly because of the bright colour of the sky and of the trailer that was driving across. The occupant died from the crash.
The report reveals that after introducing Autopilot’s Autosteer feature in the system, the company’s crash rate has reduced by 40%. The updated feature effectively works by steering the vehicle in critical conditions.
This report became public very timely, as a serious debate about the safety and efficiency of the self-driving mechanism was in progress. Since, Autopilot is an aim for various competing automobile companies, any adverse report could have raised serious questions.
NHTSA finally gave a clear chit to Tesla’s autopilot
Giving absolute control to automatic system has always been critiqued. However, the company argues that Autopilot could save some very dangerous accidents if appropriately used, and the report confirms the argument.
Another finding, after reconstructing the entire incident, revealed that the trailer should have been visible to the driver even seven seconds prior to the hit. So technically speaking, its manual rather mechanical fault that ended in such an unfortunate incident.
The report concludes that all automatic systems require consistent monitoring from the driver, lest any untoward thing happens. The conclusion was based on the Tesla’s customer-facing literature that clearly educates drivers of all the limitations of the Autopilot and gives necessary instructions.
Drivers must ensure that they know every relevant thing about the safety of the driver assist systems.