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Tesla brakes, not autopilot, at fault in fatal crash, company says

By Yvette C. Hammett
Tesla brakes, not autopilot, at fault in fatal crash, company says
Tesla Motors, Inc. believes the braking system on its Model Smay have failed to work properly leading to a fatal accident near Williston, Florida May 7, 2016 File. Photo by Hadrian / Shutterstock

LOS ANGELES, July 31 (UPI) -- Tesla Motors Inc. is considering the possibility it's "crash prevention" system failed in a fatal crash of a Model S, not its autopilot system.

The company told Senate investigators the crash involved the vehicle's automatic braking system, which may have detected the truck that the car was about to hit, but didn't act on it, the New York Times reported.

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The autopilot combines steering and cruise control and other technology to avoid accidents.

Tesla representatives told the Senate Commerce Committee the braking system's radar and camera are where the problem may lie, Bloomberg reported.

A white tractor-trailer turned in front of an auto-pilot enabled Tesla on May 7 near Williston, Fla., Tesla said. The Ohio man driving the car was speeding when the Tesla failed to react to the truck crossing in front of him, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded. That crash caused members of Congress to heighten scrutiny of the new technology.

This crash was the first known fatality in a vehicle using autopilot, a feature available in more than 70,000 vehicles around the world. It has been used, according to Tesla, for vehicles to travel more than 130 million miles.

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