In May 2016, a man died because his Model S unit collided with a truck while the vehicle was being driven on the company's Autopilot system. The case has since been ongoing about who the liability from the accident belonged to. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just outlined its decision.
According to Bloomberg, the NHTSA investigated the case and came to the conclusion that the Model S driver had ignored Tesla's manufacturer's warnings. The warning was that drivers should still maintain control even while the vehicle is on autopilot. Moreover, it was concluded that the electric vehicle itself was in good working condition and that there were no defects.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reports that drivers need to take their responsibility seriously. However, Reuters adds that he also went on to say that it is the responsibility of vehicle manufacturers to explain the limitations of an autonomous, or semi-autonomous vehicle. In the case of the late Joshua Brown, a former Navy SEAL, the Model S was unable to detect the truck that crossed the road in front of the EV.
Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, praised the decision that the NHTSA reached. The decision also means that there will be no recall of the vehicle. He also announced that the company's crash rate has decreased by as much as 38 percent since it started to offer its Autopilot feature. However, there are those that are angered by how the case was finished.
Some have argued that the Model S's inability to detect the car is a defect that is inherent of the vehicle. However, Brown's family lawyer has advised that his side plans to evaluate all the details of the information provided by the agencies that have investigated the crash. After a thorough review the same, they will determine the right course of action.
Brown's incident happened near Williston, Florida. He was operating the Model S in Autopilot when the crash occurred and he died from the collision. His case was the first fatality in a Tesla vehicle and has since raised questions about the safety of autonomous vehicles.