The Autopilot system that is available in Tesla model cars is an innovation that has helped drivers. However, many drivers may be expecting the system to perform better than its current capabilities. Autopilot may be a bit of a misnomer, evoking belief that the vehicles are self-driving. While the vehicles can perform some automated driving tasks, such as changing lanes and automatic braking, the manufacturer says that the driver should always remain in control of the vehicle to ensure safety. Recent accidents that have occurred in Tesla vehicles while the autopilot was engaged have been investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
WSB Radio reports that the NTSB has discovered that the driver in a fatal Tesla crash was playing a video game while Autopilot was engaged.
On Tuesday, the board determined that the driver in a fatal Tesla crash was playing a video game on his smartphone at the time of the accident.
The agency made recommendations for partially automated vehicles in the future. One of these recommendations includes that technology companies design smartphones and other devices to be non-operable when in the reach of a driver unless there is an emergency.
Another of the recommendations echoed previous recommendations the agency made to Tesla two years ago. It advised that the company should install safeguards that would prevent the Autopilot system from operating under conditions it was not designed to handle.
It was also recommended to develop a more effective system that can determine if a driver is paying attention.
The NTSB cannot immediately enforce recommendations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can, and they are, investigating the causes behind 14 Tesla crashes. If corrections to safety defects are needed, the NHTSA can enforce those recommendations.
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