Tesla Autopilot may be to blame for 2 deaths in Texas crash

Authorities in Spring, Texas, say they’re 100% sure that nobody was driving throughout a deadly Tesla crash on Saturday night.

According to KHOU-11, the 2019 Tesla Mannequin S had two passengers inside, one aged 59 and the opposite aged 69, when the automobile went off the street at a slight curve and crashed right into a tree, bursting into flames. Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman mentioned the hearth took 4 hours and greater than 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish, because the automobile’s batteries continued to reignite the flames.

Whereas authorities haven’t confirmed whether or not Tesla’s Autopilot characteristic was engaged on the time of the crash, Herman mentioned it was “virtually not possible” for anybody to have been in the motive force seat on the time. Tesla didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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Tesla’s Autopilot options have been energetic throughout deadly crashes earlier than. The web site TeslaDeaths.com exhibits six verified circumstances in which autopilot was concerned, plus 10 extra unverified circumstances. In the newest verified case, a Tesla Mannequin S struck and killed a person who had gotten out of his tractor-trailer on the aspect of the street in May 2020. Autopilot has additionally been concerned in a pair of fatal crashes in which the system failed to detect a white truck in shiny circumstances.

Final month, Reuters reported that the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration is actively investigating 23 Tesla crashes, three of which have occurred not too long ago.

Tesla’s support documents say that that drivers ought to be “absolutely attentive” with their fingers on the wheel whereas utilizing Autopilot. However as The Verge points out, the corporate has additionally rejected calls to implement driver attentiveness via options like eye-tracking. CEO Elon Musk has mentioned that these measures would be ineffective.

The corporate additionally continues to (*2*) that goes past fundamental steering, braking, and accelerating. Tesla claims the know-how would allow vehicles to change lanes, reply to visitors lights, and park themselves, however regardless of the identify, the corporate nonetheless says drivers will want to be on the wheel and prepared to take over at any time. FSD launched in beta final fall and Musk says it can be out there in Q2 this 12 months, although it has already confronted quite a few delays.

The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration says it’s monitoring the know-how and “won’t hesitate to take motion to defend the general public towards dangers to security,” Reuters studies.