NTSB releases preliminary findings on March's fatal Tesla Model X crash

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017

In the post, the company said the driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the highway barrier but took no action to avoid the collision, citing vehicle logs.

While the driver wasn't keeping his hands on the steering wheel, it appears the Autopilot system steered the crossover into the concrete barrier. Huang was pulled from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

In the days after the crash, Huang's wife Savonne said her husband had complained about the system not working properly near the area where the crash occurred. People familiar with the matter, however, noted that the NTSB was the one which opted to terminate its collaboration with Tesla, according to a Bloomberg report. The vehicle's emergency braking and evasive steering did not engage.

The report also said the vehicle had sped up from 62 miles (99 km) per hour to almost 71 miles (114 km) per hour in the three seconds before the March 23 crash. The speed increase occurred once the Model X did not have a vehicle in front of it, as Huang had set a cruise control speed of 75 miles per hour. The NTSB confirmed that in its preliminary report today.

The Tesla Model X that crashed in California earlier this year while being guided by its semi-autonomous driving system sped up to 114 km/h in the seconds before the vehicle slammed into a highway barrier, investigators said Thursday. While the report does not make a ruling on the primary cause of the crash, it does offer a breakdown of everything that happened in the lead-up to the collision, which claimed the life of Walter Huang.

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A preliminary report was made available by the National Transportation Safety Board detailing the moments before and after the March crash near Mountain View, California. One second later, the model "began a left steering movement" while still following the lead vehicle.

In April, a Tesla Model S that struck a firetruck in Utah while in Autopilot mode may also have sped up before impact. Drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and engaged at all times when the feature is activated. The driver in that crash sustained only minor injuries.

"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents - such a standard would be impossible - but it makes them much less likely to occur", Tesla wrote in a March blog post. "It is the driver's responsibility to drive safely and remain in control of the vehicle at all times", it says.

The Tesla collided with a so-called crash attenuator, a device covering the concrete barrier that's created to absorb a vehicle impact to lower risks of damage and injuries.

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