Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Police probe whether Autopilot feature was on in Tesla crash

Police probe whether Autopilot feature was on in Tesla crash

Witnesses indicated the Tesla Model S did not brake prior to impact. Police in a Salt Lake City suburb say it's not immediately known whether a Tesla Model S sedan's semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system was in use when it rear-ended a truck apparently without braking before impact at approximately 60 miles per hour. The truck, a fire department mechanic vehicle, was stopped at a red light at the time. According to police Sergeant Sam Winkler of the police Department of the city of South George, the result of the accident were crumpled front part for electric vehicle and only a broken leg for the driver.

There was no indication the Tesla's driver was under the influence of any substance, and information on what the driver may have told investigators about the circumstances of the crash likely would not be available before Monday, Winkler said by telephone.

The company said in a statement on Monday: Tesla has not yet received any data from the auto and thus does not know the facts of what occurred, including whether autopilot was engaged.

The 28-year-old female driver of the auto, who is unnamed, told Utah police that the Autopilot system was switched on she was looking at her phone when her vehicle slammed into the fire engine stopped at a red light.

Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot system is supposed to detect nearby cars and objects to avoid collision, but the company said the feature shouldn't be used on roads with intersections, stop signs, red lights or suddenly changing traffic patterns, according to the vehicle maker's user manuals. Matthew Schwall was the chief technical contact with US safety investigators, who had recently joined Alphabet Inc's self-driving unit, Waymo.

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Waymo, Google's self-driving vehicle spinoff, confirmed that Matthew Schwall had joined the company.

Tesla said it had not received any data from the Model S in the crash and could not confirm if the Autopilot was actually engaged.

Accidents in Utah have already commented on the head of Tesla Ilon Musk.

Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has told staff the firm is undergoing a "thorough reorganisation" after two of its cars were involved in crashes last week.

The US' National Transport Safety Board is investigating after the crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 8 May.

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