Police Confirm Autopilot Use in Utah Tesla Crash

  • Police Confirm Autopilot Use in Utah Tesla Crash

Police Confirm Autopilot Use in Utah Tesla Crash

The company has also made sure that the drivers should keep their hands on the steering wheel even when the feature is enabled. The 28-year-old driver told the police she was using Tesla's semiautonomous driving technology, Autopilot, and was using her phone at the time of the crash.

The incident happened in South Jordan, Utah is now attracting attention from across the nation, as the driver said that Autopilot was enabled on the vehicle when the crash happened. The woman told police the car's autopilot technology was on at the time of the crash.

A Utah driver switched on the Autopilot function of her Tesla Model S and then didn't touch the steering wheel again for 80 seconds before the auto slammed into a fire engine that was stopped at a red light last week.

The driver manually pressed the vehicle brake pedal fractions of a second prior to the crash. With respect to the Utah case, the driver has since conceded that she was on her phone leading up to the accident, noting that she was looking up mapping directions and only managed to return her eyes to the road right before the moment of impact.

A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment on what steps the company may take following the incident, but reiterated in a statement that the Tesla autopilot feature does not relieve a driver from the responsibility to stay closely engaged with the vehicle's operation. The report said she took her hands off the steering wheel "within two seconds" of engaging the system and then did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds, until the crash happened. She was issued a traffic infraction for failing to keep proper lookout.

Tesla's Autopilot system is a focal point of an ongoing NTSB investigation about a Model X crash near Mountain View, CA. The citation was issued to the Model S driver this Wednesday. "NHTSA will take appropriate action based on its review", the agency said, as quoted by CNBC.

Numerous crashes in which Autopilot was active have made for some unflattering headlines, much to the chagrin of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and some of the electric-car company's fans. Musk noted that such accidents at such speeds "usually result in severe injury or death". The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating three other Tesla accidents, with the most recent involving a fatal crash in Florida.

That makes at least three the number of federal investigations into Tesla crashes now underway.

The National Transportation Safety Board also is probing those crashes, in addition to a March fatality in Northern California. In a later tweet, however, Musk stated that Autopilot does need to get better.

Musk also took aim at media who have been reporting on recent crashes involving Tesla Autopilot, in particular, and more advanced autonomous vehicles, more generally.