Federal Agency Investigates Tesla Crash; Driver Says Car Was On Autopilot

Federal Agency Investigates Tesla Crash; Driver Says Car Was On Autopilot

On more than a dozen occasions, the vehicle is said to have registered a total absence of hands on its wheel, and twice for periods exceeding a minute in length.

Tesla said on Wednesday drivers are repeatedly warned to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of their vehicle at all times, while South Jordan police reiterated that drivers of semi-autonomous vehicles must remain alert and in control of the vehicle at all times. She repeatedly cancelled and then re-engaged these features, and regularly adjusted the vehicle's cruising speed. She had previously told police she had engaged the system and was looking at her phone to compare route maps when the accident occurred.

Although the driver miraculously only sustained a broken foot, the potential for lethal consequences was present when considering the decimation of the Tesla's front end.

Tesla advises drivers that they must keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention at all times while using Autopilot, which the company says does not make the vehicle "autonomous".

It is the third Tesla crash since January that the NHTSA is investigating that may have been linked to autopilot.

The police said the Tesla Model S during that day's trip registered more than a dozen instances of the driver's hands being off the steering wheel. Local law enforcement and technicians from Tesla agreed to cooperate to determine the cause of the accident, and on Wednesday, the South Jordan Police Department published the findings of Tesla's probe into the car's computer, which revealed the car's activities in the minutes leading up to the crash.

She and the fire truck driver received minor injuries, police said.

The driver engaged Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control on multiple occasions during this drive cycle. Each time she put her hands back on the wheel, she took them back off the wheel after a few seconds. "Based upon witness information, the driver of the Tesla did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision", a statement from South Jordan Police said. The driver finally touched the brake pedal "a second prior to the crash".

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a team to conduct its own investigation into the incident.

It's unclear if that system activated before the Utah crash. The 28-year-old driver, who said she was going about 60 miles per hour, sustained a broken ankle while the truck's driver suffered minor injuries.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board stated that it is not investigating the Utah crash.

Furthermore, it's now the fourth investigation into a crash involving a Tesla vehicle in just 2 months, which might be a record.

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