"Tesla drivers have logged more than one 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", Tesla said in a statement.
The report is only two pages long so there's not a lot in the way of detail, but the basic narrative is this: the driver engaged Autopilot 10 seconds before the crash, and the vehicle stopped detecting his hands on the wheel eight seconds before the crash.
Tesla's "Autopilot" system was engaged by a driver who was killed in a March crash in Florida, according to an initial accident report released Thursday.
The auto was traveling at about 68 miles per hour before it collided with the truck as it crossed the highway, tearing off the car's roof and killing Banner.
Whether the driver's hands were on the steering wheel or not is irrelevant at this point, because the data shows that neither he nor the auto made evasive maneuvers. According to the NTSB, "Preliminary data from the vehicle show that the Tesla's Autopilot system-an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that provides both longitudinal and lateral control over vehicle motion-was active at the time of the crash".
The NTSB said its investigation is ongoing.
Video footage showed that the truck was crossing the highway and had slowed as it crossed the southbound lanes of State Highway 441 in Palm Beach County, blocking the Tesla's path.
The roof of the auto was sheared off in the accident and the driver was killed.
The accident, which involved the Tesla Model 3 driving into and then under a semi's trailer, saw the Tesla's roof sheared completely off the auto and its occupant instantly killed. As a result, Tesla shorted the time Autopilot issues a warning alert when the driver's hands are off the wheel.
Preliminary findings indicate the Autopilot system was indeed on at the time of the fatal crash involving a Model 3. GM's Super Cruise driver assist system only operates on divided highways with no median turn lanes, he said.
Tesla needs a better system to more quickly detect whether drivers are paying attention and warn them if they are not, Friedman said, adding that some owners tend to rely on the system too much.
"Tesla has for too always been using human drivers as guinea pigs. That kind of stands out", Friedman said.
The Delray Beach crash casts doubt on Musk's statement that Tesla will have fully self-driving vehicles on the roads sometime next year.
We have compiled all the rumors and snippets of information from Tesla's not-so-secretive CEO. A research paper released earlier this year by MIT scientists studying Tesla's driving-assistance system found that in the context of "tricky situations" - scenarios that may lead to property damage, injury or death - drivers disengaged Autopilot on average every 9.2 miles.