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article image'Self-driving' car driver dies in crash in Florida — First in US

By Karen Graham     Jun 30, 2016 in Technology
Federal officials announced on Thursday the first death in the U.S. using self-driving technology occurred in May in Florida when the driver of a Tesla S sports car operating the car's automated driving system died after a collision with a truck.
The driver of the car was identified as Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio. Brown, a former Navy Seal was the owner of Nexu Innovations Inc., working on wireless Internet networks and camera systems, according to
The accident occurred on May 7, 2016, in Williston, Florida. The car's cameras failed to distinguish between the white side of a tractor-trailer truck that was turning and the brightness of the sky, and the car didn't automatically activate its brakes, according to government documents made available on Thursday.
The driver/owner of the Okemah Express LLC truck, Frank Baressi, 62, of Palm Harbor, Florida, was interviewed by the Associated Press from his home. He said the Tesla driver was "playing Harry Potter on the TV screen" when the crash occurred and was driving so quickly "he went so fast through my trailer I didn't see him. It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road."
ABC News is reporting that Tesla, on its website said "The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer," The windshield of the Model S collided with the bottom of the trailer, and the roof was completely sheared off.
Tesla says that before Autopilot can be used, drivers are supposed to understand that the automated system is only an "assist" feature, and the driver is supposed to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times. Drivers are told they must "maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle" and need to be prepared to take over at any time.
Tesla's founder, Elon Musk, expressed "our condolences for the tragic loss" in a tweet late Thursday.
More about Tesla model s, Autopilot, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, first known death
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