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In Self-Driving Car Case, Tesla Is Found To Be Not At Fault, Here's Why

20 June 2017, 6:14 pm EDT By Eric Brackett Tech Times
In the first fatal car crash involving a self-driving car, Tesla has been found not at fault. The investigation is ongoing, but a recently released report concludes that Tesla's autopilot systems did not cause the crash.   ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Investigators have determined that Tesla's self-driving technology was not at fault for a car crash that killed former Navy SEAL, Joshua Brown.

Tesla Not At Fault

The National Transportation Safety Board's report, which spans more than 500 pages, sheds new light on the car crash that killed Brown. One thing that the report makes clear is that Tesla's systems were not at fault. The investigation concluded that Brown ignored multiple warnings to take control of the wheel. In total, the investigations found that Brown ignored at least seven different safety warnings. In terms of driving time, it was found that in more than 37 minutes of driving, Brown had his hands on the steering wheel for a mere 25 seconds.

The investigation found that two forms of autopilot were engaged at the time of the crash. The first is Adaptive Cruise Control which allows the car to maintain a speed relative to the surrounding traffic. The second is Autosteer which maintains the car's lane. With these systems, the investigators concluded that Tesla was not at fault since Brown ignored the car's warnings. For its part, Tesla has repeatedly made it clear that its Autopilot systems still require a human driver to account for situations beyond the computer's control.

Tesla has not claimed responsibility for this crash but has claimed that software updates, which were released after the crash, would have prevented this accident from occurring. A previous report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was released in January, concluded that the investigators found no fault with Tesla's autopilot systems.

Brown Was Not Watching A Movie

While Tesla was not found to be at fault, the NTSB's report did not draw any conclusions regarding the cause of the crash. However, the report did dispute the rumors that Brown was watching a movie at the time of the crash. While Brown did have a laptop and other electronic devices with him, the investigators did not find any evidence that they were in use at the time of the crash. An attorney for Brown's family, Jack Landskroner, has called those claims "unequivocally false."

Meanwhile, the NHTSA's report also did discuss the fact that Brown was apparently in a state of "extended distraction." The NHTSA report concludes that Brown should have seen the truck at least seven seconds in advance, but found that Brown "took no braking, steering or other actions."

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Eric Brackett Tech Times editor Eric Brackett is a tech junkie and a gamer, covering science and technology. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for updates and his random thoughts on the latest trends in gaming, tech, and comic books.

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