Tesla Motors told U.S. Senate Commerce Committee staff it is considering two theories that may help explain what led to the May 7 fatal crash that killed a Florida man who was using the car's "Autopilot" system, a person familiar with the meeting told Reuters on Friday.
Tesla staff members told congressional aides at an hour-long briefing on Thursday that they were still trying to understand the "system failure" that led to the crash, the source said.
Tesla is considering whether the radar and camera input for the vehicle's automatic emergency braking system failed to detect the truck trailer or the automatic braking system's radar may have detected the trailer but discounted this input as part of a design to "tune out" structures such as bridges to avoid triggering false braking, the source said.
Tesla declined to discuss the meeting except to sayit did not suggest that the vehicle's cameras nor radar "caused" the accident. It was not clear if other factors were under investigation.
Joshua Brown was killed when his vehicle drove under the tractor-trailer. It was the first known fatality involving a Model S operating on the Autopilot system that takes control of steering and braking in certain conditions.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk was asked on Twitter why the radar did not detect the truck. Musk wrote in a June 30 tweet that "radar tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false braking events."