U.S. security investigators on Wednesday opened the third energetic investigation of a
automobile that crashed whereas the driver-assistance system Autopilot was mentioned to be in use.
The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration mentioned it’ll examine a crash that occurred final Friday in South Jordan, Utah, the place a Mannequin S sedan driving about 60 miles an hour rammed into the again of a fireplace division truck stopped at a pink gentle. The 28-year-old driver, who sustained a damaged ankle, mentioned Autopilot was engaged and that she was taking a look at her telephone earlier than the collision, in keeping with native police.
NHTSA mentioned its particular crash investigations staff will collect data on the collision and take acceptable motion relying on its evaluate. This staff typically tries to enhance superior security methods throughout the auto trade, in keeping with the company’s web site. NHTSA oversees automobile makers and routinely investigates auto crashes, serving to to implement auto security requirements and laws.
“When utilizing Autopilot, drivers are constantly reminded of their duty to maintain their arms on the wheel and preserve management of the automobile always,” a Tesla spokeswoman mentioned in an announcement. “Tesla has all the time been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the automobile impervious to all accidents.”
On Monday, Tesla Chief Government
criticized the media in a Twitter put up for its protection of the Utah accident. “It’s tremendous tousled Tesla crash leading to a damaged ankle is entrance web page information and the ~40,000 individuals who died in US auto accidents alone in previous 12 months get virtually no protection,” Mr. Musk wrote.
A deadly crash in March involving a Mannequin X sport-utility automobile renewed scrutiny of Autopilot, which makes use of cameras, sensors and radar to manage automobile velocity and steering underneath sure situations, however doesn’t take over full driving management.
In that March 23 crash, underneath federal investigation, the automobile slammed right into a freeway barrier south of San Francisco, killing the driving force. Tesla mentioned Autopilot was activated however that the driving force acquired a number of system warnings to place his arms on the wheel and had not less than 5 seconds to take action earlier than the collision.
U.S. investigators are also trying into an incident in January in Los Angeles the place a Mannequin S rammed into the again of a stopped firetruck on the freeway. The driving force informed the fireplace division the automobile was utilizing Autopilot on the time.
Tesla contends Autopilot makes its vehicles safer than typical vehicles and emphasizes that it’s the driver’s duty to remain alert and preserve management of the automobile whereas Autopilot is on. Automotive specialists say drivers can have a tough time paying consideration whereas utilizing partly autonomous driving methods like Autopilot.
The Wall Avenue Journal reported on Monday that Tesla has lengthy thought of including sensors that might guarantee drivers take a look at the highway or hold their arms on the wheel, however executives rejected the concepts due to prices and considerations the expertise was ineffective. Mr. Musk mentioned this week that Tesla rejected including sensors to trace a driver’s eyes as a result of it was ineffective, not due to the price.
U.S. security regulators have mentioned in addition they are reviewing battery fires stemming from Tesla crashes, together with one earlier this month involving a Mannequin S that killed two youngsters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Write to Tim Higgins at Tim.Higgins@WSJ.com
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