Recently, Tesla's Autopilot system claimed its first fatality in Florida, USA. More details on the crash have emerged, and the driver has been identified as Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old former Navy SEAL. He ran his own tech company, was a big fan of Tesla's technology, and posted several videos from his car highlighting the Autopilot feature.
On Friday, there were reports that Brown was watching a movie in the car during the accident, according to a statement from the driver of the truck that he crashed into. Now there are reports that confirm a portable DVD player was found in the wrecked Tesla. However, there are conflicting statements from witnesses about whether or not the player was running when they reached the crash.
According to Terence Mulligan, a witness who was driving in the same direction as the truck just before the incident, the Tesla Model S was keeping within the speed limit of 105kmph. However, the car apparently didn't slow down as the truck made a turn and it went right under the trailer. Mulligan says that the car continued to carry speed even after the roof had been ripped off.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol's initial accident report, the truck driver had failed to yield right of way. However, the driver, 62-year-old Frank Baressi, stated that Tesla had moved over to the slow lane when it should have easily seen the trailer.
Tesla stated that the autonomous system didn't apply the brake as it did not distinguish the white trailer from the bright sky. After the car hit the trailer, the safety systems weren't activated because the bottom of the trailer hit the windshield and not the area which detects the impact. Tesla says that if the car had hit the front or rear of the trailer, the proven safety systems might have prevented the fatality.