Tesla Model S Speeding Before Fatal Crash
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According to data downloaded from the Tesla involved in a recent fatal crash, the vehicle -- piloted by the human driver or advanced software -- was speeding, according to Transportation Department officials.
In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the Tesla Model S was moving at 74mph in a 65mph zone when owner Joshua Brown collided with a tractor-trailer truck on a Florida highway. Whether or not you consider that "speeding," the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles can levy fines for traveling as little as 6 to 9 MPH over the posted limit.
NTSB also found evidence the driver was using Tesla's Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer, and the car was equipped with automatic emergency braking -- designed to reduce the severity of or assist in avoiding frontal collisions.
Brown's death in May is the first to occur when the Autopilot feature was activated, according to Tesla, which hit back at critics who said CEO Elon Musk knowingly withheld material information about the crash from stockholders. The company, meanwhile, claims its Autopilot system was not at fault.
NTSB has yet to determine a probable cause for the crash; a team of investigators continue to collect and analyze data from the car's multiple electronic systems. Its final report is expected within 12 months of this week's preliminary announcement.
Meanwhile, the luxury automaker has parted ways with Mobileye, the start-up that supplies Tesla with computer chips and algorithms, The Wall Street Journal reports. "I think in a partnership, we need to be there on all aspects of how the technology is being used, and not simply providing technology and not being in control of how it is being used," Mobileye CTO Ammon Sashua said during an earnings call.
"This was expected and will not have any material effect on our plans," Musk said in a statement. "MobilEye's ability to evolve its technology is unfortunately negatively affected by having to support hundreds of models from legacy auto companies, resulting in a very high engineering drag coefficient. Tesla is laser-focused on achieving full self-driving capability on one integrated platform with an order of magnitude greater safety than the average manually driven car."