An inattentive driver relies on his Tesla Autopilot driver-assist system to do the driving. The system does not recognize or respond to a tractor trailer crossing its path along a Florida highway. A fatal crash ensues.
Those circumstances were the backdrop for a landmark collision in May 2016. They're the same ones that likely caused a nearly identical crash that killed Jeremy Banner, 50, in a crash on March 1, 2019, in Delray Beach, Fla., according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB issued its findings on the more recent crash Thursday. Among the developments: Images extracted from the vehicle's Autopilot system showed the harrowing seconds leading up to the moment the car impacted and passed underneath the trailer, which straddled U.S. 441.
A Tesla spokesman could not be reached for comment following the release of the report.
Investigators cited a truck driver's failure to yield the right of way as a probable cause of the crash, combined with the Tesla driver's inattention due to an overreliance on an automated feature. The Autopilot feature had been activated 9.9 seconds before the crash occurred.
The findings are the latest from a series of probes conducted by the federal safety agency exploring the advent of new automotive technologies that allow cars to control braking and steering but require an attentive human driver who remains responsible for vehicle operations at all times.
In many respects, the findings read like a carbon copy of the 2016 crash in Williston, Fla., which marked the first time a motorist was killed in a car that operated with an advanced driver-assist feature engaged.
This time, the NTSB cited lessons not learned from the first crash as supporting reasons the second occurred.