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Autonomous Vehicles

Investigators: Tesla Was on ‘Autopilot’ at Time of Deadly Crash

Jeremy Banner, who died when his Tesla Model 3 slammed into the side of a semi-truck in March on a Florida highway, had put the car on its semi-autonomous “Autopilot” mode 10 seconds prior to the collision, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday. Mr. Banner didn’t touch the steering wheel in the moments leading up to the collision, investigators found, and his Tesla doesn’t appear to have taken any steps to slow down or avoid slamming into the truck’s trailer at 68 miles per hour.

“Neither the preliminary data nor the videos indicate that the driver or the ADAS executed evasive maneuvers,” investigators wrote, using the acronym for Advanced Driver Assistance System.

The findings are the latest blow to Tesla’s controversial “Autopilot” feature, which the company says will soon be “fully self-driving.” Mr. Banner is at least the fourth person to die from a collision that happened after they had engaged the semi-autonomous driving feature. After Joshua Brown died in an eerily similar collision in Florida in 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised that software updates would prevent a similar collision from happening again.

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