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Fatal Tesla Autopilot accident investigation ends with no recall ordered

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The federal investigation into the fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode has ended, with no vehicle recalls being ordered. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which had been investigating the crash for over six months, released a report largely exonerating Tesla and its Autopilot system’s involvement in the crash.

The report also revealed that Tesla’s crash rate dropped by 40 percent after Autopilot was installed, that the driver in the crash would have had seven seconds to see the truck and take some sort of action, and that Tesla considered the possibility that drivers would misuse Autopilot and attempted to prevent that from happening.

Joshua Brown, 40, was killed in central Florida on May 7th, 2016 when his Model S slammed into a tractor trailer at a highway intersection. Tesla said the car’s sensor system, against a bright spring sky, failed to distinguish a large white 18-wheel truck and trailer crossing the highway. In a tweet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the time that the vehicle's radar "tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false braking events."

The truck driver, meanwhile, claimed that Brown may have been watching a Harry Potter movie at the time of the accident, and the Florida highway patrol told Reuters that there was a portable DVD player in the vehicle.