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Tesla seeks to eliminate deadly trucker errors with electric semi

The deadly nature of large truck crashes in California has safety experts, lawmakers and innovators constantly looking for ways to make the roadways safer from the hazards inherent in these vehicles. According to Ars Technica, Tesla may be able to eliminate many of the most common threats to safety with its electric semitruck. 

1Computer software automatically logs the truck's hours. Truckers and trucking companies have notoriously taken advantage of the adjustability of paper logs to bypass the federal hours-of-service regulations, leaving drivers vulnerable to extreme fatigue. The logging software meets the new electronic logging device requirements that went into effect last December.

Other crash-prevention Autopilot software in the Tesla Semi includes the following:

  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic lane keeping

Hi-Tech Chronicle notes that Elon Musk claims his vehicle is not susceptible to jackknifing. This type of crash involves the cab and trailer swinging sideways toward each other like the closing of a jackknife. It is most likely to happen when a truck driver takes a curve going too quickly to maintain control of the vehicle, particularly when the road is sloped. Road conditions can also cause the loss of traction that leads to jackknifing, as well as imbalanced or shifting cargo. One in 10 truck crashes that kill a person in a passenger vehicle involves a jackknifed tractor-trailer.

To prevent this type of accident, Tesla Semi sensors monitor how the weight is distributed across the vehicle's wheels. If an imbalance occurs, the truck reduces its own motor power, engages the brakes and corrects the steering, eliminating many of the human error factors that lead to a fatal crash.

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