WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The motive force of a Tesla Inc Mannequin X automotive utilizing Autopilot didn’t have his palms on the steering wheel within the six seconds earlier than a deadly crash in California in March, the U.S. Nationwide Transportation Security Board stated Thursday.

The brand on a 2018 Tesla Mannequin three electrical automobile is proven in Cardiff, California, U.S., on this image taken June 1, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The NTSB stated in a preliminary report the 38-year-old driver, who died in hospital shortly after the crash, had been given two visible alerts and one auditory alert to put his palms on the steering wheel through the journey.

The report additionally stated the automobile had sped up from 62 miles (99 km) per hour to just about 71 miles (114 km) per hour within the three seconds earlier than the March 23 crash. 5 days later, the electrical automotive’s high-voltage battery reignited and the hearth division needed to extinguish the blaze.

Tesla’s Autopilot is a driver help system that handles some driving duties and permits drivers to take their palms off the wheel. Tesla says drivers are supposed to maintain their palms on the wheel always when utilizing the system.

Tesla declined to touch upon the NTSB report, however stated in March that the motive force had not braked or taken actions to keep away from the crash within the closing seconds earlier than the crash.

The security board is at present investigating 4 Tesla crashes since final yr and taking a look at post-crash fireplace points and using Autopilot.

The report stated the motive force within the March incident received warnings to place his palms again on the wheel greater than 15 minutes earlier than the crash. Within the minute earlier than the accident, his palms have been on the wheel for a complete 34 seconds, however not within the final six seconds earlier than he struck a crash attenuator and concrete barrier on US-101 in Mountain View, California, the report stated.

The impression rotated the automotive, which then additionally collided with two different autos.

Bystanders managed to get the motive force out of the automotive earlier than it was engulfed in flames, and he was taken to hospital the place he died from his accidents. The motive force of one of many different two automobiles had minor accidents and the second driver was unhurt.

Tesla’s proprietor’s guide warns drivers that the system could not detect stationary objects when touring at greater speeds.

Tesla shares have been up round 1 % on Thursday.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Enhancing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas