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Tesla Driver Killed After Plowing Into Firetruck On Freeway

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – A Tesla driver was killed, and a passenger was critically injured when the car collided with a fire truck parked on a Northern California freeway to protect a crew clearing another accident, according to fire officials.

According to Tracie Dutter, assistant chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, four firefighters in the truck who were hit on Interstate 680 received minor injuries.

Dutter stated that the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The car had to be cut open to extract the passenger, who was taken to the hospital.

The car’s front end was crushed, and the $1.4 million ladder truck was damaged, according to photos.

Officer Adam Lane of the California Highway Patrol said it was unclear whether the driver was intoxicated or whether the Tesla Model S was equipped with automation or driving assistance features.

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Tesla is Creating A Safer Experience For Its Future Users

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into how Tesla’s Autopilot system detects and responds to parked emergency vehicles on highways. While using the system, at least 14 Teslas collided with emergency vehicles.

Dutter stated that the truck had its lights on and was parked diagonally on the freeway’s northbound lanes to protect responders from an earlier accident that did not result in injuries.

The fatal accident happened around 4 a.m. clearing the freeway took several hours. The firetruck was towed away.

Tesla recalled nearly 363,000 Model S vehicles on Thursday due to potential flaws in its “Full Self-Driving” system. While the recall is intended to address potential issues at intersections and with speed limits, it comes as part of a larger investigation into Tesla’s automated driving systems by US safety regulators.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

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DETROIT — The US government’s highway safety department is looking into Amazon’s self-driving robotaxi company after two vehicles braked unexpectedly and were rear-ended by motorcyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday that it will assess Zoox’s automated driving system.

Both accidents occurred during the sunlight, and the riders sustained minor injuries. In all cases, the agency established that the Amazon vehicles operated in autonomous mode before the crashes.

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Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

According to the government, the investigation will focus on the performance of the company’s automated driving system during the crashes and how it operates in crosswalks near pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

A message was left early Monday requesting a response from the company.

Zoox reported the crashes by a requirement granted to automated vehicle firms in 2021.

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Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

According to estimates, Amazon paid more than $1 billion for Zoox in June 2020. In 2023, the Foster City, California-based business announced that one of its unique-looking four-person shuttles would automatically transport personnel on public highways along a mile-long (1.6-kilometer) route between two facilities.

The corporation then planned to develop an exclusive shuttle service for its employees. Analysts believe Amazon will deploy the system for autonomous deliveries.

The cars feature no steering wheel or pedals. The interior is carriage-style, with two benches facing each other. It is a little under 12 feet (3.7 meters) long, about a foot (a third of a meter) shorter than a conventional Mini Cooper, and can reach 35 mph (56 km/h).

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Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

The company was already under investigation by the NHTSA. In March 2022, the government began investigating the company’s certification that its car fulfilled federal safety standards for motor vehicles.

The agency stated at the time that it would investigate if Zoox used its testing techniques to establish that certain federal criteria did not apply due to the robotaxi’s unique configuration.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Nintendo To Announce Switch Successor In This Fiscal Year As Profits Rise

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TOKYO  — Nintendo, a Japanese video game company, announced on Tuesday that it will provide details regarding a Switch home console replacement before March 2025.

Nintendo did not provide any information regarding the announcement when releasing its financial results, including if it will only announce its plans for the replacement product or debut it during this fiscal year.

“Within this fiscal year, we plan to reveal details on the Nintendo Switch successor. Nintendo Switch was first unveiled in March 2015. Thus, it will have been more than nine years since then, according to a statement from Shuntaro Furukawa, president of the business.

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Nintendo To Announce Switch Successor In This Fiscal Year As Profits Rise

The fiscal year that concluded in March saw a 13% increase in earnings for Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. This was due to strong demand for Switch titles such as “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.”

Nintendo increased its net profit from 432.7 billion yen to 490.6 billion yen ($3 billion) during the fiscal year that ended in March 2024. Sales increased 4% annually to 1.67 trillion yen ($11 billion), with almost 80% coming from outside of Japan.

Nintendo reports that in addition to “The Legend of Zelda,” which sold 20.6 million units worldwide during the fiscal year, “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” sold 13.4 million units, and “Pikmin 4” sold about 3.5 million units.

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Nintendo To Announce Switch Successor In This Fiscal Year As Profits Rise

The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s release a year ago also helped sales.

Additionally beneficial was the yen’s depreciation versus the dollar, which increases the value of Japanese exporters’ foreign earnings in yen, such as Nintendo. Over the last fiscal year, the U.S. dollar has averaged roughly 151 Japanese yen, up from 133 yen the year before.

Nintendo was less enthusiastic about its financial results for the fiscal year through March 2025, predicting net profit to drop to 300 billion yen ($1.9 billion). Nintendo did not provide quarterly data.

Nintendo has sold over 141 million Switch units, with 15.7 million of those sales occurring in the recently ended fiscal year.

Providing a consistent flow of entertaining games is essential because these sales tend to decrease steadily over time.

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Nintendo To Announce Switch Successor In This Fiscal Year As Profits Rise

This month, “Endless Ocean Luminous,” a virtual scuba diving experience that included whales, vibrant fish, and other aquatic species, went on sale. Next month, the plumber Mario’s sibling will appear in “Luigi’s Mansion 2,” which will go on sale.

Nintendo is also preparing a new movie for a global release in April 2026. It hopes to attract more fans to its property with the later this year debuts of Donkey Kong Country at Universal Studios Japan and a Nintendo museum in Kyoto.

SOURCE – (AP)

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US Seeks Information From Tesla On How It Developed And Verified Whether Autopilot Recall Worked

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DETROIT — The company’s Autopilot semi-automatic driving technology is present in more than 2 million vehicles, and federal highway safety investigators want Tesla to explain how and why it developed the repair.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States has 20 crash reports after the recall remedy was distributed as an online software update in December, raising doubts about the recall’s effectiveness.

The question of whether Autopilot should be permitted to run on roadways other than limited access highways was also addressed by the recall update. Increased warnings to drivers on roads with intersections served as a remedy.

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US Seeks Information From Tesla On How It Developed And Verified Whether Autopilot Recall Worked

However, investigators said they were unable to distinguish between alerts to drivers to pay attention sent before the recall and following the installation of the revised software in a letter to Tesla that was published on the agency’s website on Tuesday. The agency stated that it would assess the effectiveness of driver warnings, particularly in cases where a driver-monitoring camera is obscured.

The government focused on how Tesla employed human behavior to test the efficacy of the recall after receiving voluminous information on the company’s development of the patch.

The letter, according to Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in automated driving safety, indicates that the recall was largely ineffective in resolving Autopilot issues and was instead an attempt to appease the NHTSA, which had requested the recall following more than two years of research.

Everyone watching can tell that Tesla attempted to take the least amount of action to see what they could get away with, according to Koopman. “And NHTSA needs to act quickly to prevent other automakers from releasing subpar solutions.”

Safety advocates have long feared that Autopilot was not intended for use on roads other than limited-access highways, despite the fact that it can keep a vehicle in its lane and at a safe distance from objects in front of it.

The NHTSA is reacting to lawmakers’ criticism for what they see as a lack of action on autonomous vehicles, according to Missy Cummings, a professor of engineering and computing at George Mason University and expert on automated vehicles.

“The feedback loop is functioning, despite how clumsy our government is,” Cummings stated. “I believe the leadership of the NHTSA is now persuaded that this is an issue.”

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US Seeks Information From Tesla On How It Developed And Verified Whether Autopilot Recall Worked

In an 18-page letter, the NHTSA questions Tesla on how it applied human behavior science to Autopilot’s development and how important it is to include human factors.

Additionally, it requests that Tesla list all positions involving the assessment of human behavior along with the credentials of the employees. Additionally, it queries Tesla on the status of the positions.

The Associated Press contacted Tesla early on Tuesday to inquire about the letter.

Tesla is firing about 14,000 employees, or 10% of the company, as part of a cost-cutting measure to address declining worldwide sales.

Cummings expressed her suspicion that Elon Musk, the CEO, would have fired anyone who possessed knowledge of human behavior, a critical ability required to implement partially automated systems like Autopilot, which are incapable of operating on their own and necessitate human intervention at all times.

“You better have someone on your team that knows what they are doing in that sector if you’re going to have a technology that depends upon human interaction,” she stated.

According to Cummings, her research indicates that the human brain is left with limited functions once a driving system takes over human steering. Many drivers tend to check out and rely too much on the system.

She stated, “You can be a million miles away in your head, you can have your eyes on the road, and you can have your head fixed in one position.” “You won’t be made to pay attention by all the driver monitoring technologies in the world.”

The NHTSA also requests information from Tesla in its letter regarding how the recall remedy resolves driver misunderstanding regarding whether Autopilot has been turned off if they apply force to the steering wheel. In the past, drivers might not have realized immediately that they needed to take control of the vehicle if Autopilot had been disabled.

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US Seeks Information From Tesla On How It Developed And Verified Whether Autopilot Recall Worked

A feature that provides a “more pronounced slowdown” to notify drivers when Autopilot has been turned off was added to the recall. However, drivers must manually activate the function; it is not done automatically by the recall remedy. Investigators questioned how many motorists have made that move.

Telsa is requesting NHTSA. “What do you mean that even though you have a cure, it never turns on?” stated Koopman.

According to him, the letter indicates that the NHTSA is investigating whether Tesla conducted tests to ensure the changes were effective. “After examining the solution, I found it difficult to accept that numerous analyses have demonstrated that these will enhance safety,” Koopman stated.

According to the agency, Tesla also released safety improvements following the recall patch to lessen hydroplaning-related crashes and collisions in high-speed turn lanes. The NHTSA declared that it would investigate Tesla’s decision to omit the changes from the initial recall.

According to safety experts, NHTSA may pursue additional recall remedies, impose restrictions on the Autopilot operating range, or even order Tesla to disable the technology until it is corrected.

In 2021, the NHTSA launched its Autopilot investigation in response to 11 instances of Teslas hitting parked emergency vehicles while operating on Autopilot. The NHTSA stated in documents outlining the reasons for the investigation’s termination owing to the recall that it eventually discovered 467 Autopilot-related collisions that resulted in 54 injuries and 14 fatalities.

SOURCE – (AP)

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