Even as the government moved Tuesday to open a clearer path for automakers to develop driverless cars, its leading safety agency waved a new warning flag.
After a yearlong investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that a Tesla system capable of automatically steering and controlling a car had “played a major role” in a fatal crash in Florida.
The agency said the system, known as Autopilot, had performed as intended, but lacked safeguards to prevent drivers from using it improperly.
In the Florida case, the driver was able to use the system on a road for which it was not designed, and to turn his attention away from the road for an extended period just before the crash, the N.T.S.B. said.