NTSB Preliminary Report On Fatal Autopilot Crash: Model S Travelling At 74 MPH
After a high profile fatal crash that involved a Tesla Model S while operating in Autopilot mode occurred near Williston, Florida in May, the NTSB announced earlier this month that it would open an investigation into the incident.
Today the National Transportation Safety Board issued its first findings, reporting that the Model S in question was travelling 74 mph (in a 65 mph zone) at the time of the accident as part of its preliminary report. Also identified was the specific vehicles involved in the accident (a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia 53-foot truck tractor, and a 2015 Tesla Model S).
More of the specific details can be found at the above link, as today’s preliminary report from the NTSB is mostly to ‘start the ball rolling‘, and does not come to any specific conclusion (or recommendations) by the Safety Board on the accident.
Those findings will come later, as the government agency goes over the on-scene data collected by five of its investigators in May, and also from vehicle logs from Tesla and the tractor trailer.
Here is the initial findings statement from the NTSB today:
NTSB Issues Preliminary Report for Williston, Florida, Highway Crash
The National Transportation Safety Board issued Tuesday its preliminary report for the investigation of a fatal May 7, 2016, highway crash on US Highway 27A, near Williston, Florida.
The preliminary report does not contain any analysis of data and does not state probable cause for the crash.
The preliminary report details the collision involving a 53-foot semitrailer in combination with a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia truck tractor and a 2015 Tesla Model S. The report states that according to system performance data downloaded from the car, the indicated vehicle speed was 74 mph just prior to impact, and the posted speed limit was 65 mph.
The car’s system performance data also revealed the driver was using the advanced driver assistance features Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer lane keeping assistance. The car was also equipped with automatic emergency braking that is designed to automatically apply the brakes to reduce the severity of or assist in avoiding frontal collisions.
A team of five NTSB investigators traveled to Williston to conduct the on-scene phase of the investigation. The team used three-dimensional laser scanning technology to document the crash location, the damaged trailer and the damaged car. NTSB investigators continue to collect and analyze performance data from the car’s multiple electronic systems. This data along with other information collected during the on-scene phase of the investigation will be used to evaluate the crash events.
All aspects of the crash remain under investigation. While no timeline has been established, final reports are generally published 12 months after the release of a preliminary report.