The National Transport Safety Board has released findings regarding the crash.
People just don't seem to get that Tesla's autopilot feature doesn't turn it into an autonomous driving car. We are years, if not decades, away from vehicles where the driver has no responsibility for being in control of the car. This is further driven home by the new public report from the National Safety Transport Board (NTSB) regarding a Tesla Model S that crashed in January of 2018. According to the report, the 2014 Model S Autopilot system was engaged continuously for the final 13 minutes 48 seconds of the journey, which was cut short by the car hitting a fire truck.
The NTSB will be following up with a report detailing the crash's probable cause on Wednesday, but we already know the driver was eating and drinking in the moments leading up to the crash. Tesla's own report claimed the company had a witness that saw the driver on his cellphone before the crash, however, the driver denies that and the NTSB claims there are no records to show he was either talking or texting on his phone at the time of the crash. The driver told the NTSB: "I was having a coffee and a bagel. And all I remember, that truck, and then I just saw the boom in my face and that was it."
The report says that the Tesla vehicle had been following a car for some time at just over 20 mph then, when the car in front changed lanes, the Tesla started speeding up to the 80 mph set on the cruise control feature. It hit the fire truck at 30.9 mph. It also says that Tesla's system didn't detect the drivers hands on the wheel for 3 minutes and 41 seconds before the crash.
Understandably, this throws serious questions at the driver-assistance system's ability to detect hazards, particularly over longer periods as well as just how over-confident people can be with the technology's abilities.