(NPR) — Federal investigators say a Tesla driver who was killed in a 2018 crash was distracted by his phone while the car was set to autopilot — and that Tesla should have done more to prevent this “foreseeable misuse of technology.”
The driver was distracted by his phone as his car steered itself toward a barrier, and Tesla should have done more to prevent this “foreseeable misuse of technology,” federal investigators said.
The driver appears to have been playing a game on a smartphone immediately before his semi-autonomous 2017 Model X accelerated into a concrete barrier. Distracted by his phone, he did not intervene to steer his car back toward safety and was killed in the fiery wreck.
But Tesla should have anticipated that drivers would misuse its “autopilot” feature like this and should build in more safeguards to prevent deadly crashes.
In the case of Huang's crash, the vehicle's software had noticed that he did not have his hands on the wheel at the time of the crash. Still the SUV merely warned him to pay attention, rather than disabling the semi-autonomous steering.