Texas authorities had previously stated they believed that "no one was driving the car."
The driver was at the steering wheel when the Tesla electric vehicle crashed and burned in the month of April last year in Houston and killed two people who were not located in the driver's seat.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced the results of an investigation report that was released on Thursday about the accident that took place on a road that was used by residents located in Spring, Texas, near Houston.
Though first responders discovered one person in the back seat and another sitting in front of the passenger The NTSB stated that both the driver and the passenger were sitting in front seats and buckled their belts when the accident.
New details about the fatal Tesla crash raises questions regarding the security of driverless vehicles
APRIL 20, 202102:31
The agency stated that the car was moving at speeds of between 67 and 67 mph in the five seconds leading incident, as well as that the driver was increasing the speed. The car's fire-damaged event data recorder showed that, at times, an accelerator pedal could be press up to 98.8 percent in the NTSB report stated.
The investigation continues and the NTSB is unable to determine the possibility that Tesla's Autopilot partially automated driver assistance system was in operation during the accident. The NTSB confirmed that it is studying Autopilot as well as whether the drivers may have encountered difficulties getting out of the vehicle or if they had a toxicology test for the driver, among other things. It will come to these conclusions in its final report.
The updated report did not clarify as to why or how the driver loosened the seat belt and switched seating positions, but it noted that the crash caused damage to Tesla's lithium-ion high-voltage battery casing, which is where the fire first started.
In a preliminary report published in May the NTSB stated that home security camera footage revealed that the owner of the Model S got into the driver's seat just before the fatal crash. Investigators discovered an indication that the wheel was damaged as a result of an impact, possibly from the driver.
The crash happened at around 9:07 p.m. at Hammock Dunes Place, a two-lane residential road. The owner of the house, 59 years old, and the passenger, 69, were killed. In the past, the NTSB confirmed that the Model S was in the year 2019. Model S went off the road at a bend and drove into the curb, struck an aqueduct for drainage along with a manhole raised, and the trunk of a tree.
In its May report in the May report, the NTSB reported that it was testing another Tesla model on the same route, and also that the Autopilot driver-assist system was unable to be fully utilized. The investigators were unable to make the automated steering system to work, however they could utilize the Traffic Aware Cruise Control.
Autopilot requires to have both cruise controls as well as the auto steering feature to perform its function. Traffic Aware Cruise Control can keep the car at a safe distance from other vehicles that are in front of it, and autosteer ensures it stays within its own track. The report stated that the road did not have the lane lines. This could have been reason enough to make the automatic steering not perform.
The agency has stated that it plans to issue safety guidelines to avoid similar accidents.
The collision caused damage to the lithium-ion high-voltage battery, from which the fire started.
Local authorities say one man was discovered in the front seat while the other was in the rear.
Harris County Precinct Four Constable Mark Herman said at the time the car was at a fast speed. He declined to say whether there was evidence that someone tampered with Tesla's technology to monitor the driver. It detects the force of hands placed on the wheel. The system can issue warnings, and then shut the vehicle down when it fails to detect hands. However, Tesla's system can be easy to fool, and it can take up to one minute to close.
Consumer Reports said in April that it could effortlessly get the Tesla to drive in Autopilot mode, with no driver driving the car.
The NTSB is a non-profit organization that has no regulatory authority and has the power to only make recommendations, announced that it is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the investigation. NHTSA is able to create regulations for safety of vehicles. The federal investigation is being conducted simultaneously with an investigation being conducted by local authorities The NTSB confirmed.
The Texas accident raised questions over whether Autopilot was functioning at the time, and if Tesla is doing enough to make sure that its drivers are involved. Tesla says in the owners' manuals as well as in its site that Autopilot is a system for driver assistance and drivers need to be ready to act whenever they need to.
Lars Moravy, Tesla's vice engineer for vehicle design was on the company's announcement of earnings on the 26th of April that an examination of the vehicle that was badly burnt discovered that the wheel of the car was damaged, "so it was leading to a likelihood that someone was in the driver's seat at the time of the crash." He added that all seat belts were not buckled.
When he posted on Twitter on April 1, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said that records "recovered so far" in the crash show. Autopilot was not on in addition "Full Self-Driving" was not bought for the car during the Texas crash. Musk didn't respond to reporters' questions posted on Twitter.
NHTSA has increased its investigation in the area of Tesla Autopilot. In August, the agency launched an investigation of the autopilot system following a string of collisions with emergency vehicles.
The investigation involves 765,000 vehicles nearly everything Tesla sells within the U.S. since the start of the 2014 model year. In the crash investigations that were identified as being part of the investigation 17 people were injured and one person was killed.
NHTSA claims to have identified 12 crashes in the last year where Teslas using Autopilot as well as traffic Aware Cruise Control have hit vehicles in situations where first responders have utilized flashing lights, flares, illuminated arrow or cone warning of potential dangers.