(Reuters) – A digital video disc player was found in the Tesla car that was on autopilot when its driver was killed in a May 7 collision with a truck, Florida Highway Patrol officials said on Friday.
Whether the portable DVD player was operating at the time of the crash has not been determined, however, and witnesses who came upon the wreckage of the 2015 Model S sedan gave differing accounts on Friday about whether the player was showing a movie.
Questions of why the car did not stop for a turning truck, and whether the victim, Joshua Brown, was watching the road are critical for Tesla. The Palo Alto luxury electric car maker is facing a preliminary inquiry by federal regulators over the safety of the Model S Autopilot system that was engaged at the time of the crash in Williston, Florida.
It could be weeks if not months before officials make a final determination of the cause of the crash, the first known fatality of a Model S driver while using Autopilot. Meanwhile, the accident is stoking the debate on whether drivers are being lulled into a false sense of security by suchtechnology. A man who lives on the property where Brown’s car came to rest some 900 feet from the intersection where the crash occurred said when he approached the wreckage 15 minutes after the crash, he could hear the DVD player. An FHP trooper on the scene told the property owner, Robert VanKavelaar, that a “Harry Potter” movie was showing on the DVD player, VanKavelaar told Reuters on Friday. Read more via Venture Beat
*Above: Robert VanKavelaar shows a piece of the Tesla found in his property where the Tesla came to rest when its driver was killed in a collision with a truck in May in Williston, Florida, U.S. July 1, 2016.
*Story via Venture Beat