Driver in fatal Tesla autopilot crash warned repeatedly

The first fatality involving Tesla's Autopilot feature led to questions over the safety of the semi-autonomous system previous year, but a report published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concludes that Elon Musk's company was not at fault.

The National Transportation Safety Board Office of Public Affairs (NTSB) began its investigation into the accident in July of past year.

The NTSB's report says that two Autopilot systems were active - adaptive cruise control, which allows the vehicle to set and maintain a pace relative to traffic in front of the auto, and Autosteer, which holds the vehicle in its lane. However, Tesla has made upgrades to its driver-assistance technology since the crash - although the company continues to face criticism and even a lawsuit over the upgrades.

An earlier investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the crash was not the result of any defect in Tesla's autopilot feature, which can keep a vehicle in a lane and brake to avoid traffic and other obstacles. The reports offered new details of the violent accident, but stopped short of clarifying why the driver didn't attempt to override the car's autonomous systems.

A lawyer for Brown's family told Reuters that the report should put the rest the rumors that Brown was watching a movie at the time of the crash.

The NTSB found no record of a forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking at the time or the moments leading up to the crash. The driver died on May 7, 2016, when his 2015 Model S collided with a Freightliner semi-trailer truck on a Florida highway past year. They say that "analysis, findings, recommendations, and probable cause determinations related to the crash will be issued by the Board at a later date".

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Tesla's autopilot mode allows a vehicle to maintain the speed of traffic, and an auto-steer function is created to help keep the Tesla inside its lane.

The NTSB makes safety recommendations but can not order recalls.

The documents also found that Mr Brown had set cruise control at 74mph (119km/h) which was above the 65mph speed limit.

The Tesla, its roof sheared off and crumpled at the rear of the auto, continued down the road until it struck a utility pole and came to rest in a home's driveway.

The 40-year-old Brown had been cited for speeding eight times from 2010 to 2015.

A Florida Highway Patrol spokesman said the truck driver was charged with a right of way traffic violation.

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