Tesla driver in fatal 2018 crash had reported 'Autopilot' problems before, NTSB finds

A Tesla driver in California died in a March 2018 crash while using the Autopilot driver-assistance system.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) disclosed in documents made public Tuesday that Walter Huang, the 38-year-old Apple software engineer killed by his Tesla, previously reported that on prior trips his car steered away from the highway by itself.

Huang was driving his Tesla Model X in Mountain View using autopilot feature at about 70 mph when the car crashed into a safety barrier.

From Reuters today:

The NTSB said Huang had reported issues on prior trips with Autopilot steering the wheel toward an area between a highway ramp and the lane. It is a moving violation to cross into that section of the road, known as the "gore area."

Data from the vehicle showed that in prior trips Huang had taken corrective action after Autopilot had steered toward the area. The NTSB said in the fatal crash Huang's hands were not detected on the steering wheel in the final six seconds before the crash. There was no evidence of braking or evasive action.

The NTSB, which also found evidence that the driver was using a smartphone during the trip, plans a Feb. 25 hearing to determine the probable cause of the crash. Tesla did not immediately comment.

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Tesla driver in fatal crash had reported problems before with 'Autopilot' feature
[Reporting by David Shepardson, February 11, 2020 / 9:12 AM]