Navy Seal Killed While Using Autopilot in Self-Driving Tesla Vehicle

The first fatal accident to occur while a driver had their Tesla in self-driving mode was announced on Thursday, according to a report.

Navy Seal Joshua D. Brown, 40, died on May 7 while driving in Williston, Florida after the cameras on his Tesla Model S sedan failed to differentiate between a white tractor-trailer that was making a turn, and the bright sky, the Associated Press reports.

Subsequently, the car reportedly did not engage its brake and went straight through the trailer, as it was travelling at a high rate of speed while Brown played Harry Potter inside the car, the driver of the truck, Frank Baressi, told the AP.

“It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road,” Baressi, 62, added.

Although the other driver reported that Brown was using the car’s screen for games at the time of the accident, Tesla Motors told the AP that motorists can not use the Model S touch screen to watch videos, and there was no note of the Harry Potter game in police reports.

Elon Musk, who founded the car company, tweeted sympathies on behalf of the company on Thursday.

Our condolences for the tragic loss

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2016

“Our condolences for the tragic loss,” he wrote.

Just a month before his death, Brown had reportedly touted the car’s sophisticated “autopilot” function, which he credited for preventing another accident on the highway.

Describing Brown in a statement, the company called him “a friend to Tesla and the broader EV (electric vehicle) community, a person who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission.” However, they also emphasized that the new system is a work in progress.

“Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” Tesla added.

1 Comment

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