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May 7, 2016 – First autopilot death

First tesla autopilot death
Wrecked Tesla of Joshua Brown, resulting in the first autopilot death. (Robert VanKavelaar)

According to reports, a Tesla Model S slammed into a truck near Williston, FL while its autopilot function was engaged on this day in 2016. The impact resulted in the death of Joshua Brown, who became the first “driver” to die while using hands-free driving technology in the modern age. Tesla declined any comment on the accident, aside from stating that the Tesla Autopilot system “does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility.”

A NTSB report that utilized data from Tesla’s proprietary collection system found that Brown allegedly had his hands on the wheel for less than one minute during the 37 minutes leading up to the wreck. According to the data, he allegedly also set the cruise control to 74 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone. The NTSB report said Brown should have been able to see the truck at least seven seconds before impact. Brown “took no braking, steering or other actions to avoid the collision,” the report said. In addition, the report found that there were no defects with the Tesla.

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