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Fatal autopilot crash, NHTSA investigating...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by zambono, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. zambono

    zambono Member

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  2. zambono

    zambono Member

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    basically the driver was decapitated and it seems it was similar to the guy who summoned his car under a truck
     
  3. ggnykk

    ggnykk Active Member

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    I notice this news popping up in CNBC and Bloomberg news as well. Tesla stock is taking a hit in after-hour trading. I was wondering about the detail of this fatal crash as well.
     
  4. ggnykk

    ggnykk Active Member

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    Official Tesla press release (A Tragic Loss)

    A Tragic Loss
    The Tesla Team June 30, 2016
    We learned yesterday evening that NHTSA is opening a preliminary evaluation into the performance of Autopilot during a recent fatal crash that occurred in a Model S. This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles. It is important to emphasize that the NHTSA action is simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations.

    Following our standard practice, Tesla informed NHTSA about the incident immediately after it occurred. What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S. Had the Model S impacted the front or rear of the trailer, even at high speed, its advanced crash safety system would likely have prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.

    It is important to note that Tesla disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled. When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it. Additionally, every time that Autopilot is engaged, the car reminds the driver to “Always keep your hands on the wheel. Be prepared to take over at any time.” The system also makes frequent checks to ensure that the driver's hands remain on the wheel and provides visual and audible alerts if hands-on is not detected. It then gradually slows down the car until hands-on is detected again.

    We do this to ensure that every time the feature is used, it is used as safely as possible. As more real-world miles accumulate and the software logic accounts for increasingly rare events, the probability of injury will keep decreasing. Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert. Nonetheless, when used in conjunction with driver oversight, the data is unequivocal that Autopilot reduces driver workload and results in a statistically significant improvement in safety when compared to purely manual driving.

    The customer who died in this crash had a loving family and we are beyond saddened by their loss. He was a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community, a person who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
     
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  5. travwill

    travwill Member

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    I don't think any manufacturer's safety systems (AP) front collision control systems would have stopped in that scenario, its a rare/odd case for sure. The driver/human failed to stop and see the danger as well.

    But having said that, you should still pay close attention when driving and using AP. Trusting any piece of hardware & at times buggy software with your life going anywhere from 50-90 mph is dangerous if you don't at this point.
     
  6. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    how sad for the driver but it appears that he just wasn't watching where he was going.
     
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  7. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    It would be useful if someone can list all of the current limitations for Tesla Autopilot.

    In this case, the system may not be able to recognize a "hollow" structure such as a high bed trailer.
     
  8. schonelucht

    schonelucht Active Member

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    A tractor trailer that's crossing a highway should have at least a window of 10 seconds or more to brake so why didn't the driver intervene? Was it really that hard to see the trailer? Maybe the trailer was passing behind a slight include? Anyone knows where the accident happened?
     
  9. chillaban

    chillaban Member

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    The article mentions bright sunlight and a white trailer traveling perpendicularly, so I wouldn't be so quick to simply blame it on inattentiveness. It is an unfortunate accident, a perfect storm of bad scenarios lining up.
     
  10. X Yes?

    X Yes? Member

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    Very sad. It was only a matter of time before the false sense of security resulted in a death.
     
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  11. BriansBucketList

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    According to CNBC, Tesla responded that the accident was tragic, the first fatality in 1.3 million miles (?) of autopilot driving, but I will paraphrase. The accident involved a white semi that entered the Teslas lane at a right angle, and neither the autopilot or the driver saw the light colored vehicle against the light background.

    This tells me that it's possible the driver may not have understood he needed to watch the road, or he was watching and didn't see the large light colored truck. If it was a case of the driver looking, but not seeing a large truck, this could have been a Ford, Volvo, GM, etc. A closely approaching semi may be high enough to escape the radar, and reminds us autopilot users to keep an eye on things.

    Autopilot should be called driver assistance, and Teslas efforts to emphasize driver responsibility and situational awareness might need to be ramped up a bit.
     
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  12. TSLA Pilot

    TSLA Pilot Member

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    Yes, a tragic event and we all await the details.

    Having said that, however, why is it that Tesla's AP try to kill me on undulating roads? Seriously. Whenever there are gently rolling hills, the AP can be counted on to swerve right or left. Service Center has a standard, lawyer statement they use to reply to any complaint, despite my suggestion they forward this concern up channel to HQ.

    Can someone explain the physics/optics that cause this behavior, or, better yet, get some GoPro video of this to send to Tesla? It's been many months now that AP has been out, yet it persists in doing this in the THREE Teslas I've drive with AP.

    Odd, and not very safe either.
     
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  13. chillaban

    chillaban Member

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    In this particular case, Autopilot has a tough time recognizing cars traveling perpendicular to you (e.g. cross traffic) unless the camera can recognize it and predict its path. Autopilot can start recognizing large objects regardless of direction or appearance once the ultrasonic parking sensors can detect it, but in this case a semi trailer is too tall to trigger such sensors.


    I'd in general be very cautious of using Autopilot or relying on collision alarms in the presence of cross traffic.
     
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  14. CarlitoDoc

    CarlitoDoc Member

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    Get ready.....the Stock is going to take a dump.......this is bad!
     
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  15. zambono

    zambono Member

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    None of those details exist yet but there is an investigation. Based on report the trailer was white and sunny day so a lot of light reflected. Disappointing that the camera didn't see it since there had to have been some movement, I know why the ultrasonics didn't see anything and thats because of the height of the trailer. A driver would have reacted if he or she would have been paying attention, and depending on the amount of time / distance / speed would have been able to do something.
     
  16. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    I believe LIDAR that Google uses would prevent this kind of accident.

    It can see two football fields away in all directions.

    "All directions" means low and high including empty tall high bed trailers.
     
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  17. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    Agree with @travwill. I think the Press Release was well written as well. As I'm typing this the news is breaking on CNN. So sad for the driver and family.
     
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  18. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

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  19. RobertSeattle

    RobertSeattle Member

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    I wish it wasn't called AutoPilot. Driver Lane Assistant? The human still has to be very aware of what is going on.
     
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  20. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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