2016 Tesla Model S facelift 2

Following the first known fatality involving the operation of Tesla’s Autopilot system, CNBC reports that police investigators have found that the laptop and DVD player in the wreckage of last month’s crash were not running after the incident.

Joshua Brown, 40, was the driver and sole occupant of the Tesla Model S when it collided with a truck whilst Autopilot was switched on, resulting in Brown’s death. According to Sergeant Kim Montes, investigators could not determine if Brown was operating either device in the moments before the crash.

This contradicts the claims of truck driver Frank Beresi, who said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen”. Witnesses who came across the scene have given differing accounts on whether or not the devices were playing at the crash site.


An excerpt from a posting on Tesla’s official website said of the May 7 incident that “the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”

As a result, the Model S passed under the tall height of the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer colliding with the windshield of the electric vehicle (EV), resulting in the death of the Tesla driver. A police report in the Levy County Journal said the top of the vehicle “was torn off by the force of the collision.”

An avid fan of the Tesla Model S, Brown had recently uploaded a dashcam recording that demonstrated how the Autopilot system on his Model S managed to avoid a side collision from taking place, while he was listening to an audiobook.