Tesla driver is first to be killed in crash while us­ing car’s ‘Au­topi­lot’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - As­so­ci­ated Press ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

A driver so en­am­ored of his Tesla Model S sedan that he nick­named the car ‘Tessy’ and praised the safety ben­e­fits of its so­phis­ti­cated ‘Au­topi­lot’ sys­tem has be­come the first US fatal­ity in a wreck in­volv­ing a car in self­driv­ing mode.

The Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced the driver’s death and said it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the de­sign and per­for­mance of the Au­topi­lot sys­tem.

Joshua D Brown of Ohio, the 40-year-old owner of a tech­nol­ogy com­pany, was killed on May 7 in Florida, when his car’s cam­eras failed to dis­tin­guish the white side of a turn­ing trac­tor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t au­to­mat­i­cally ac­ti­vate its brakes, ac­cord­ing to state­ments by the gov­ern­ment and the au­tomaker.

Frank Ba­ressi, 62, the driver of the truck, said the Tesla driver was “play­ing Harry Pot­ter on the TV screen” at the time of the crash and driv­ing so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

Tesla Mo­tors Inc. said it is not pos­si­ble to watch videos on the Model S touch screen. There was no ref­er­ence to the movie in ini­tial po­lice re­ports.

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