US-101 Crash Result

The NTSB has wrapped-up their investigation into the US-101 crash which occurred to a blue Model X, not unlike Pensive, around the same time I took delivery. Since taking delivery, I've admittedly gotten very excited about this whole electric thing, but some of Tesla's statements are simply irritatingly misleading and lead to effectively incorrect reporting. This is almost certainly the intent of the statements, with those along the lines of the driver's hands were not detected on the sterring wheel in the time leading-up to the crash being reported as factualy objective truths the driver did not have his hands on the sterring wheel leading-up to the crash.

Tesla take-control warning

The Model S and Model X only have one way of detecting "hands on the wheel", which is a torque sensor detecting counterforce on the steering wheel. If you attach a small weight (a can of soda, or a bag of three apples), the wheel will see force that it recognizes as hands on the wheel. If your hands are on the wheel, with the car moving in straight and roughly level ground, it will not notice your hands unless you make otherwise unnecessary movements of the wheel. When there's a lot going on: either a pedestrian-crossing heavy area; or more like a US highway during rush-hour, heavy traffic, it's very easy to miss warnings because you're paying attention to the road. The safety features should not be detracting from the safety of the system as a whole.