New York, April 20 2021: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and The National Transportation Safety Board are the two US regulators who will be investigating a fatal car crash involving a Tesla in Spring, Texas.
The vehicle with apparently no one behind the wheel, was speeding when it hit a tree and later caught fire resulting in the death of two men and destroying the car completely. One of the victims was in the passenger seat while the other was in the back seat. According to Harris County police official, Mark Herman, there was no one in the driver’s seat of the car.
A special crash investigation team has been assembled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and they are actively engaged with local law enforcement and the company Tesla itself to investigate the details of the crash and to take appropriate steps to prevent such an accident happening in the future. Meanwhile, The NTSB is also on board and said on Twitter that two of their investigators were also dispatched to the scene with the responsibility to investigate the fire and the vehicle’s last moments. Investigators have as yet been unable to determine whether the driver’s assistance system and the airbag were deployed at the time of the crash.
The accident has sparked another debate on the safety of Tesla’s semi autonomous vehicles, their capabilities and the safety concerns of experts who cite the risks of having autonomy features such as the Autopilot system and the additionally purchased more expensive FSD or full self driving feature. The company recommends the driver not to let go of the steering wheel even when using these features.
Tesla’s boss Elon Musk meanwhile made a statement saying, “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD, moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”
The company has warned customers that driver assistance systems Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability do not make the vehicles completely autonomous, and that active driver supervision is still required.
On the other hand, hours before the crash, Musk tweeted, praising the self driving technology of Tesla, saying, Tesla vehicles with autopilot engaged are 10 times more safe from accidents than an average vehicle on the road.
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