Tesla SUV, on Autopilot, Accelerated Before Fatal Mountain View Crash

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in January 2017

The driver of a Tesla Model X auto using Autopilot did not have his hands on the steering wheel in the six seconds before a fatal crash in California in March, the US National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

Data from the stock-trading app Robinhood - whose user base skews markedly younger than traditional brokerages - shows that Tesla was sold more than any other stock on the app over the past week, with 5,087 investors exiting their positions.

The NTSB found that Huang's hands touched the steering wheel on three occasions for a total of 34 seconds during the final 60 seconds before the crash, but his hands didn't touch the wheel once in the last six seconds.

At 3 seconds prior to the crash and up to the time of impact with the crash attenuator, the Tesla's speed increased from 62 to 70.8 miles per hour, with no pre-crash braking or evasive steering movement detected.

The preliminary NTSB report released today does not assign blame for the crash, and officials say it may take a year or longer to determine the probable cause.

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"We believe that if this Autopilot had not been on, this accident would not have happened", Huang family attorney Mark Fong told CBS. Two other vehicles were damaged in the incident, with one driver suffering minor injuries. Tesla started offering free Autopilot trials to those customers starting in 2016 so that they could try out the feature free for one month before deciding whether or not they wanted to pay for the upgrade.

Shareholders sided with the board's recommendations on all agenda items, Todd Maron, Tesla's general counsel, said during the company's annual meeting Tuesday in Mountain View, California. "While we understand the demand for information that parties face during an NTSB investigation, uncoordinated releases of incomplete information do not further transportation safety or serve the public interest", NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a statement. Autopilot was engaged and didn't brake for the truck as the driver was looking at her phone, according to police.

A Tesla spokeswoman pointed to passages in the company's owners' manual warning that automatic emergency braking is created to reduce severity of a crash and isn't created to avoid a collision. "Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision". The National Transportation Safety Board has sent two investigators to look into a fatal crash and fire Friday in California that involved a Tesla electric SUV.

It took firefighters almost 10 minutes to put out the fire with roughly 200 gallons of water and foam. "The battery was monitored with a thermal imaging camera, but no active fire operations were conducted".

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