Categories: News

Tesla Auto-Pilot Crash was (Partly) Due to the Driver Gaming

You may recall hearing a couple of years ago that a self-driving Tesla car was involved in a very serious road traffic accident in which the driver sadly lost their life. Representing one of the first major automotive deaths in the ‘self-driving‘ industry, there was clearly a lot of speculation as to what factors caused the accident.

Well, in a report via Yahoo, the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) has officially issued their findings report and it has been cited that one of the causes was the fact that the driver was playing games on their smartphone when the incident occurred.

NTSB Issue Report on Tesla Self-Driving Fatal Crash

Now, we should make it abundantly clear that the NTSB hasn’t specifically and solely blamed the driver for the accident. This was merely one of a number of contributing factors. Something that is often the case in any major accident.

It does, however, explain why (after the system went wrong) why the driver was unable to provide any manual inputs to override the incorrect automated ones. Put simply, he was distracted.

What Did Cause the Crash?

In the report, the NTSB has largely cited 4 major factors that led to the fatal collision:

  • Faded road markings
  • Bright sunlight may have affected the camera’s ability to perform (weather is a known issue for automated driving systems)
  • The car in front of the vehicle immediately prior to the accident was abnormally close
  • The driver made no manual inputs to override the faulty AI

As part of the conclusion, the NTSB has issued 8 recommendations for Tesla to modify its self-driving system. It does, however, highlight one of the biggest concerns with such systems. Namely, human complacency.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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