Fatal Tesla crash in Texas - Elon Musk Denies Autopilot Use

Fatal Tesla crash in Texas – Elon Musk Denies Autopilot Use

Tesla has been acing in the crash test for years and has been engineered to be the safest cars in the world. Tesla has also repeatedly said that its Autopilot makes the vehicle safer. Although Tesla even clearly believes in the fact that it is better to monitor drives and remain focused on the road with hands-on wheels and limit the use of automated systems pertaining to relevant conditions for which they are designed.

Fatal Tesla crash in Texas, that killed two men, is circling around the Autopilot feature. The Tesla vehicle was reported to have crashed into a tree and burst into flames. Each front and back passenger seat was individually found occupied by a person during the car search. Preliminary reports suggest that there was nobody behind the wheel.

The deceased was aged 59 and 69 years respectively according to Police and were reported talking about the Autopilot feature and wanted to go for a drive according to their wives as told to The New York Times. The police are yet to do a comprehensive investigation of the said incident.

Fatal Tesla crash in Texas – Tesla Model S

Elon Musk denies autopilot failure on fatal Tesla crash in Texas

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc. tweeted that data logs retrieved so far indicated the car’s autopilot was not engaged and the car involved didn’t purchase FSD (Full-Self Driving System). He also added that for a standard Autopilot feature to function, it requires lane lines to turn on.

The street it was driven on didn’t have the lane lines for the Autopilot to get enabled. Also as pointed out by a Tesla follower on Twitter, that Autopilot doesn’t work above certain speed limits and the car involved was in high-speed. Also, he mentioned that the safety measures of the Autopilot seat are weighted to make sure there is a driver and that hands must be on the steering wheel every 10 seconds or it disengages. Owing to these insights regarding the Autopilot feature along with the speed of the vehicle Musk rejected the idea of the vehicle’s driving software to be blamed for the crash.

Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4, said they are eagerly waiting for the data for the fatal crash of the 2019 Tesla Model S. He added that the car was traveling at high- speed near Houston, when it failed to negotiate a curve and went off-road, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames. Herman claims to have witness statements from people saying that the men wanted to test the autopilot feature and see how it can drive itself.

Firefighters spend 4 hours and 32,000 gallons of water to completely extinguish the fire caused due to the car’s lithium-ion battery involved in the crash. Firefighters claimed to have called Tesla to figure out how to oust the blaze. The National Highway Traffic Safety Board (NHTSB) has been noted saying that its investigation in Texas crash would focus on the vehicle’s operation and post-crash fire.

Several crashes have been recently reported that involved Tesla vehicles, prompting federal probes to determine whether Autopilot or FSD systems figured in the collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it had opened 27 investigations into crashes of Tesla vehicles, 23 of which remain active.

According to records obtained by CNBC and others, Tesla lawyers said that “neither Autopilot nor FSD Capability is an autonomous system.” And in their owners’ manuals, Tesla cautions drivers that these features require active driver supervision and that the vehicle doesn’t become autonomous with their usage.

NHTSA has shown an active engagement with local law enforcement and Tesla to learn more about the details of the Tesla crash and have assured that they will take appropriate steps once they have more information.