Date
21 October 2017
A Tesla Model S involved in a fatal crash on May 7 in Florida is shown with the top third of the car sheared off by the impact of a collision with a tractor-trailer truck. Credit: Reuters
A Tesla Model S involved in a fatal crash on May 7 in Florida is shown with the top third of the car sheared off by the impact of a collision with a tractor-trailer truck. Credit: Reuters

Tesla crash may delay US guidelines for self-driving cars

The fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Model S in Autopilot mode has turned up pressure on industry executives and regulators on safety issues related to automated driving technology, Reuters reports.

The first such known accident, which occurred in Florida in May, may delay the US government’s plan to outline guidelines for self-driving cars this month, it said.

The cause of the Model S crash is still under investigation by federal and state authorities, who are looking into whether the driver was distracted before his 2015 Model S went under a truck trailer.

Advocates of automating driving point to research that shows 90 percent of accidents are caused by human mistakes.

But machines can also make mistakes, or encounter situations they are not designed to handle.

On Friday, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said US traffic deaths rose by 7.7 percent to 35,200 in 2015 — the highest annual tally since 2008.

Federal officials and industry executives say that toll could be cut by technology such as brakes that automatically engage when sensors detect an impending crash.

In March, 20 automakers agreed with regulators to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all US vehicles by 2022, a move that could prevent thousands of rear-end crashes annually.

But automakers have issued numerous recalls for problems with such systems.

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