On May 7, 2016, a 40-year-old man named Joshua Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S sedan collided with a tractor-trailer crossing his way on US Highway 27A near Williston, Florida. Nearly three years later, another Tesla owner, the 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner, was also killed on a highway in Florida under similar circumstances: his Model 3 collided with a tractor-trailer crossing his path and tore the roof from the process ,
There was another big similarity: Both drivers used at the time of their crash, according to the investigators, the advanced driver assistance system Autopilot Tesla.
The autopilot is a Tier 2 semi-autonomous system, as described by the Society of Automotive Engineers, which combines adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, self-parking and, most recently, automatic lane change capability. Tesla today describes it as one of the safest systems on the road, but the deaths of Brown and Banner raise questions about these allegations, suggesting that the Tesla has failed to address a major flaw in its flagship technology.
There are some big differences between the two crashes. For example, Browns and Banners Cars had completely different driver assistance technologies, though both are referred to as autopilot. The autopilot in Brown's Model S was based on the technology of Mobileye, an Israeli startup that has since been acquired by Intel. Brown's death was partly responsible for the separation of the two companies in 201
6. Banner's Model 3 featured a second-generation autopilot version developed by Tesla itself.
This suggests that Tesla had the opportunity to remedy this so-called "peripheral" or unusual circumstance when redesigning Autopilot, but has not done so yet. After Brown's death, Tesla said his camera did not recognize the white truck in front of a clear sky. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) basically stated that Brown ignored the road and relieved Tesla. It turned out that he'd set his car's cruise control to 74 mph about two minutes before the crash, and he'd have had at least seven seconds to notice the truck before it crashed into it.