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A few months ago, Joshua D. Brown was killed from injuries sustained in a car crash from his Tesla Model S. The car was in autopilot mode, in which the car drives itself, making Brown the first person to be killed in a Tesla autopilot accident. Investigations are still under way to find out the cause of the accident, but recent evidence suggests that Brown was watching a popular film franchise before the accident happened. Apparently, he was watching a Harry Potter movie, which may have distracted him from the road.
According to reports from AOL News, the accident occurred on May 7 when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection on a noncontrolled access highway in Florida. After the collision, the truck driver exited his vehicle and went to check on Joshua Brown, and he claimed that a Harry Potter movie was still playing after the wreck. According to Tesla, it is impossible to watch movies on the Model S touchscreen and the truck driver later clarified that he only heard Harry Potter and did not see it, but the Florida Highway Patrol found an aftermarket DVD player in the wreckage of the Model S. The assumption is that Brown was watching a Harry Potter movie while the car was driving itself, which would explain why he tragically didn't seem to take action to prevent the collision.
But despite Joshua D. Brown's distraction, the fault likely also lies with the car itself. The autopilot camera failed to differentiate the white of the truck from the bright sky. These Tesla cars are tested for months before they are put on the market, but they still require an attentive driver keeping watch. Harry Potter is a great franchise, but technology isn't quite at the point where we can watch it while in the driver's seat yet.
Despite the accident, Tesla is still standing behind the vehicle and autopilot. According to Tesla, this was "the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated." They go on to argue that statistics show there is a fatality every 94 million miles amongst all vehicles. The company also makes it clear to each of its drivers that autopilot mode is an "assist feature" and that the driver should still keep their hands on the wheel in the event of an emergency.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a formal investigation, but it's unclear how the Harry Potter reveal will play into further proceedings.