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Man dies in crash after self-driving car mistook white tractor-trailer for brightly lit sky

By Mason White 3:09 PM July 1, 2016
Joshua D. Brown 

By: Chan Yuan
(Scroll down for video) A man of Ohio, who was driving a Tesla Model S sedan, died in Florida, after the autopilot feature mistook a white tractor-trailer for a brightly lit sky and failed to stop, which caused the car to crash into the truck, according to investigators.

40-year-old Joshua D. Brown of Canton, was driving the car in Williston, when his car cameras did not recognize the white side of the tractor-trailer and did not brake, causing the vehicle to collide at full speed with the truck.

62-year-old Frank Baressi, who drove the truck and is the owner of Okemah Express LLC, said that the Tesla driver was playing Harry Potter on the TV screen at the time of the accident and was driving really fast.

The screen was still playing the movie when Brown died. Tesla Motors Inc. said it is not possible to play videos on the touch screen of the Model S.

Brown was founder of Nexu Innovations Inc.

Ironically, last month, Brown praised the sophisticated autopilot system for avoiding a collision when a commercial truck swerved into his lane on a highway.

A video of the incident was posted online. The company said that this was the first known death in more than 130 million miles driven by autopilot.

Tesla warned drivers that they need to remain in control of the vehicle even when the autopilot feature is turned on.