Recent self driving car crash shares similarities to Williston crash of 2016

Published: May. 16, 2019 at 2:00 PM EDT
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The National Transportation Safety Board says Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system was in use when one of its cars drove beneath a semitrailer in Florida in March 2019, killing the driver.

The crash involving the Tesla Model 3 is strikingly similar to a 2016 crash in Williston, Florida, that also killed the driver.

That crash was the first fatal crash of an autonomous vehicle that occurred in the United States. Joshua Brown was driving a Tesla S Sports car when he hit a semi-truck on U.S. Highway 27 in Williston, going under the vehicle and killing Brown.

Tesla stated that the crash occurred when, "Neither autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied."

In both cases, neither the system nor the drivers stopped before the cars ran into semitrailers.

The March 1st crash in Delray Beach that killed 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner raises questions about the effectiveness of the system four years after it went on the market.

Tesla says Autopilot is a driver-assist system and that humans still need to be ready to intervene.

The March crash remains under investigation by the NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.