US opens investigation into Tesla after fatal crash

US authorities are investigating the first death potentially caused by self-driving technology.

The driver of a Tesla car died in Florida in May after colliding with a lorry.

Under scrutiny is Tesla’s Autopilot feature, which automatically changes lanes and reacts to traffic.

In a statement, Tesla said it appeared the Model S car was unable to recognise “the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky” that had driven across the car’s path.

  • G

    Look at that S car go!
    Oh wait. Not so much.

  • Just another story trying to bad-mouth Tesla.

    Two bad drivers; 1) the truck driver and 2) the Tesla driver, won’t stop the transition away from hydrocarbon transportation.

    • tom_billesley

      Use of hydrocarbon fueled vehicles and use of an autopilot are two separate issues.

    • canminuteman

      The transition away from hydrocarbon fuels will happen when someone invents an energy source that works better than hydrocarbons. And this incident had nothing to do with the fuel powering the vehicle.

    • Clink9

      Maybe if a Tesla can match our Honda and go from Toronto to Florida in 22 hours.

    • V10_Rob

      “…the transition away from hydrocarbon transportation.”

      You make it sound like we’re bitterly opposed to greener cars. We’re not. What we (generally) are opposed to is having the nascent technology being forced on us before all the problems are worked out, or despite the fact its a bad fit for our circumstances.

      – Lack of power compared to petro. Fine for commuting through the city, but some of us live where gravel roads are a thing, or haul heavy loads as we work.
      – Dirtier. The power grids that provide the electricity are not always very green (coal, gas, etc), so refueling an electric actually has a bigger carbon footprint than a tank of gasoline.
      – Infrastructure capacity. Power grids will need massive expansion to provide more power if everyone has electrics in need of recharging.
      – Range and refueling options. Gas stations are everywhere, places to recharge an electric, much less so. Makes taking an extended trip a worry about being stranded.
      – Recharge speed. Tesla’s own marketing pegs a full recharge at 40 minutes. Not a problem on a road trip, take a break and have lunch. At night when you’re already home, who cares if it takes a couple hours even? In an emergency… Look at the Fort McMurray evacuation, lines of cars trying to get out just ahead of the fire, and lots of people needing to refuel to keep going. A situational niggle, but one that could cascade into a disaster.
      – Price. Not all of us can afford to be trendy early-adopters.

      All that being said, yes, I believe widespread electric transportation is inevitable. I’ve got no problem with tax incentives being handed out to encourage fueling stations to become ‘electric ready’ and otherwise spending money on building up the necessary infrastructure to both prepare for the future and to encourage it’s swifter arrival.

      But like most here, I resent and oppose the typical hamfisted Soviet tactic the greens and their pols take, which is to simply try to outlaw what they want replaced or make mandatory what they want, and force an inferior product on us (which remains inferior because there is little competition or incentive to improve).

      • Clink9

        All of us will be having gasoline powered cars around us until we’re decomposing like the dinosaurs.

  • tom_billesley

    The sensors fail to identify the white side of a trailer against a bright sky?
    How will they do when there’s a bank of fog?

  • ed

    and they thought filling the “hindenberg ” with 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen gas was a good idea at the time . just saying !