First fatal crash for self-driving car

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First fatal crash for self-driving carA 40-year-old American has become the first person to die at the wheel of a Tesla self-driving car. Until now, the electric cars have covered 130,000 miles without a fatality and the manufacturers are suggesting that the collision with a lorry may have been due to an unusual combination of its position, height and colour (its white apparently not having been visible to the on-board cameras against the bright sky).

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether the Autopilot function was at fault. Tesla’s manufacturers have emphasised that the driver must never abdicate full responsibility to the Autopilot, and are expected to introduce further safety measures.

It comes as a blow to the self-driving car industry as it struggles to convince a sceptical public and initiate new legislation in order to speed up a wider roll-out of the technology.