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Shopper group urges Tesla to repair ‘flaws’ after deadly crash

Shopper group urges Tesla to repair ‘flaws’ after deadly crash


(Reuters) — A shopper advocacy group on Friday urged Tesla Inc. to repair what it termed as “flaws” within the automaker’s driver-assistance system Autopilot after a preliminary authorities report stated a driver didn’t have his arms on the car’s steering wheel within the remaining six seconds earlier than a deadly crash.

The report issued Thursday by the Nationwide Transportation Security Board stated Walter Huang, the driving force of the 2017 Mannequin X utilizing Autopilot, had been given two visible alerts and one auditory alert to put his palms on the steering wheel in the course of the journey — however these alerts got here greater than 15 minutes earlier than the March 23 crash.

He died in a hospital quickly after the crash.

David Friedman, director of automobiles and product coverage and evaluation for Shoppers Union, the advocacy arm of Shopper Studies, stated the NTSB’s “alarming report reinforces why Tesla should reply instantly to earlier considerations raised about its driver-assist system.”

Mr. Friedman stated the crash “demonstrates that Tesla’s system cannot dependably navigate widespread street conditions by itself, and fails to maintain the driving force engaged precisely when it’s wanted most.”

The NTSB report stated the car had sped from 62 mph to just about 71 mph within the three seconds earlier than the crash.

Within the minute earlier than the crash, Mr. Huang’s palms have been on the wheel for a complete of 34 seconds, however not within the final six seconds earlier than he struck a crash attenuator and concrete barrier on U.S. Freeway 101 in Mountain View, California, the report stated.

Tesla says drivers are supposed to maintain their arms on the wheel always when utilizing the system, however many drivers at occasions choose not to take action.

Tesla declined to touch upon the NTSB report and didn’t instantly remark Friday, however stated in March that Mr. Huang had not braked or taken actions to keep away from the crash within the ultimate seconds earlier than the accident.

A lawyer for Mr. Huang’s household, Mark Fong, stated in a press release the NTSB report helps “our considerations that there was a failure of each the Tesla Autopilot and the automated braking methods of the automotive,” he stated. “The Autopilot system ought to by no means have prompted this to occur.”

Final month, police in Utah stated a Tesla in Autopilot crashed right into a stopped hearth truck. In that incident, the driving force of the Mannequin S didn’t contact the steering wheel within the 80 seconds earlier than the crash.

Tesla’s proprietor’s guide warns drivers that the system might not detect stationary objects when touring at larger speeds.

The security board is investigating 4 Tesla crashes since August 2017 and taking a look at post-crash hearth points and using Autopilot.

The NTSB beforehand faulted Tesla in a 2016 deadly crash in Florida through which Autopilot was engaged, saying: “Tesla allowed the driving force to make use of the system outdoors of the surroundings for which it was designed and the system gave far an excessive amount of leeway to the driving force to divert his consideration.”