The Latest: Tesla crash a harbinger of industry fears

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the first reported death of a motorist using self-driving technology. (All times local):

4:00 a.m.

The fatal crash of a high-tech car set on “Autopilot” is a crash that auto industry knew was coming but still feared.

Now the fatal crash of a Tesla Motors car could add to the public’s apprehension of driverless cars even before they reach the road in big numbers. Most major automakers and technology companies, including Google and Uber, are working on fully autonomous cars, and have worried that a highly publicized crash could hurt those efforts.

An Ohio man was killed in Florida in May when the cameras on his car didn’t distinguish the white side of a turning tractor trailer.

3:20 a.m.

A driver so enamored of his Tesla Model S sedan that he nicknamed the car “Tessy” and praised the safety benefits of its sophisticated “Autopilot” system has become the first U.S. fatality in a wreck involving a car in self-driving mode.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the driver’s death Thursday, and said it is investigating the design and performance of the Autopilot system.

Forty-year-old Joshua D. Brown of Canton, Ohio, the owner of a technology company, was killed May 7 in Williston, Florida, when his car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes, according to statements by the government and the automaker. Just one month earlier, Brown had credited the Autopilot system for preventing a collision on an interstate.

Sixty-two-year-old Frank Baressi, the driver of the truck and owner of Okemah Express LLC, said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” at the time of the crash and driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

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