Investigation into self-driving car death

An investigation has been made into the first-known death in over 130 million miles of Tesla Autopilot operation.

The first US self-driving car fatality occurred in May when the driver of a Tesla S sports car died after a collision with a truck in Florida. This has necessitated an investigation into the design and performance of Tesla’s system.

According to preliminary reports, the crash occurred when a tractor-trailer rig made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection of a divided highway where there was no traffic light. The Tesla driver died due to injuries sustained in the crash.

“The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer,” said Tesla Motors. The windshield of the car then collided with the bottom of the trailer.

Tesla has released a statement advising drivers that they must acknowledge the autopilot system is meant to be used only as a driving assistance feature, and drivers must keep both hands on the wheel at all times. The company has also advised drivers to maintain control and responsibility of their vehicle and be prepared to take over at any time.

The company has acknowledged that fatal accidents caused by self-driving cars are (statistically) bound to occur, however it maintains that car accidents in the US could be reduced by 90 per cent if self-driving cars are widely adopted.