Preliminary vehicle data show that the Tesla was traveling about 68 miles per hour when it struck the semitrailer.
The crash renews questions about the driver-assistance system's ability to detect hazards and has sparked concerns about the safety of systems that can perform driving tasks for extended stretches of time with little or no human intervention, but which cannot completely replace human drivers. "Tesla drivers have logged more than 1 billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and our data shows that, when used properly by an attentive driver who is prepared to take control at all times, drivers supported by Autopilot are safer than those operating without assistance".
Jeremy Beren Banner, 50, was killed when his Tesla collided with a semitrailer on March 1. During the crash, a Tesla Model 3 driven by 50 year old Jeremy Banner was southbound on United States 441 when it crashed into a semi truck that was driving east while making a left turn from an access road across southbound USA 441 onto northbound U.S. 441, which resulted in "the roof [of the Tesla] being sheared off as it passed underneath" the trailer.
He said Tesla "must restrict Autopilot to conditions where it can be used safely and install a far more effective system to verify driver engagement". The vehicle did not detect the driver's hands on the wheel for eight seconds.
The crash, which is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), raises questions about the effectiveness of Tesla's Autopilot feature, which uses cameras, long-range radar and computers to detect objects in front of the cars to avoid collisions. The auto continued traveling on the highway for about 1,600 feet before it stopped.
Tesla has maintained that the system is designed only to assist drivers, who must pay attention at all times and be ready to intervene.
Four months after the May 2016 crash, which killed former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk held a call with reporters to discuss a new version of the Autopilot software.
David Friedman, who was acting head of NHTSA in 2014 and is now vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports, said he was surprised the agency didn't declare Autopilot defective after the Gainesville crash and seek a recall. Note that this is not enough information to say the driver definitely took his hands off the wheel; it only means the auto did not detect any torque from the driver's hands. But hopefully this can be a reminder that no vehicle on the market right now can drive itself, no matter what any company's CEO may say or do.
The NTSB's proclamation also lines up with previous statements made by the investigative body concerning Tesla's ADAS Autopilot.
'Tesla has for too always been using human drivers as guinea pigs. "That kind of stands out", Friedman said. "They're literally showing how not to do it by rushing technology out".
We have compiled all the rumors and snippets of information from Tesla's not-so-secretive CEO.