Victim of autopilot car crash 'distracted by Harry Potter film'
Published 02/07/2016 | 02:30
The first victim of a fatal crash in an autonomous car may have been distracted because he was watching a 'Harry Potter' movie at the time, it has been claimed.
Joshua Brown (40), a former Navy Seal turned technology entrepreneur, was killed when his electric Tesla Model S saloon ploughed into a lorry while on autopilot mode in Florida.
His death was expected to have serious implications for the development of self-driving vehicle technology, which is being pursued by Google, Uber and other companies.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was investigating 25,000 Tesla Model S cars equipped with autopilot. Tesla, founded by the billionaire Elon Musk in California, said it was the first fatal crash in more than 130 million miles travelled by its self-driving cars, compared with a death every 94 million miles for all other US vehicles.
According to an accident report, the crash happened on a dry road in daylight 160km north-west of Orlando.
Frank Baressi (62), the truck driver, claimed Mr Brown was "playing Harry Potter on the TV screen" at the time and "went so fast through my trailer I didn't see him". He said he had not seen the film on a screen but heard it still playing when he approached the wreck.