U.S. leading electric car maker Tesla has confirmed that a Tesla sedan that hit a concrete divider and two other cars and killed the driver in a California highway last week was driving on autopilot mode.
Before the collision, “autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum,” Tesla said in a statement late Friday.It said that logs showed the 38-year-old driver had ignored earlier warnings to put his hands on the steering wheel.”The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision,” Tesla said.
It noted that the driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle log showed that no action was taken.”The reason this crash was so severe is that the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had either been removed or crushed in a prior accident without being replaced,” Tesla said.
The U.S. car maker did not explain whether the sedan’s autopilot system had detected the traffic barrier before the fatal crash on March 23 on highway 101 in northern California.The deadly crash is the latest accident involving self-driving technology.
Earlier this month, a self-driving Volvo SUV that was being tested by the ride-hailing service Uber struck and killed a female pedestrian in the U.S. state of Arizona.Since then, Uber has suspended all of its self-driving cars from public roads in Arizona, as well as in other cities such as San Francisco in California, Toronto in Canada and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania in northeastern United States.