The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the fatal Tesla Model S crash that . The agency says filming of the security camera from the vehicle owner’s home shows him entering through the driver’s side door, while his partner entered through the front passenger’s door.
After traveling about 550 feet, the Model S left the road on a curve, and then continued to hit a drainage canal, raising the human and eventually a tree. The impact damaged the car’s lithium-ion battery, which started the fire that killed the two men. When police began investigating the crash, they told reporters they were “100 percent certain that no one was in the driver’s seat driving that vehicle at the time of the impact.”
Since the crash news was first published, there has been a lot of speculation about whether the Model S owner was using (mis) autopilot. Using a test vehicle, the NTSB says it was able to activate the Cruise-Aware Traffic-Aware Control but not Autosteer along the stretch of road where the accident occurred. The latter is the feature that allows a Tesla vehicle to change lanes on its own with input from the driver. However, both must be available to use Autopilot. After the crash, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla he tweeted the data records recovered by the company “so far show that Autopilot is not activated and this car has not been acquired [Full Self-Driving]. “
What the investigation determines from there is hard to say. According to the NTSB, the fire that reduced the Model S to a charred skeleton destroyed the onboard storage device located in the car’s infotainment console. It also damaged the retention control module. That component stores data relating to speed, vehicle acceleration, as well as the status of the seat belt and airbag.
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