In its post-crash blog post, the company said that Tesla cars on Autopilot had passed the same spot 85,000 times without incident. It also noted that a crash attenuator on the concrete barrier, a metal frame meant to absorb the impact of a crash, had been damaged in an earlier crash, so the impact of Huang's car was more severe than it might otherwise have been.
After the driver of a Tesla Model X died in a fiery crash on a Bay Area freeway last week, federal and local authorities are investigating what happened. The crash on Highway 101 near Mountain View, California, last Friday looked gruesome with the front half of the electric SUV destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire. SEE ALSO: Elon Musk immediately reacts to Model 3 driver's crash story by adding features National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Christopher O'Neil said in a phone call Thursday that the federal agency was investigating the crash, mostly looking into the fire after the crash and how the vehicle was transported and removed from the scene. He said the NTSB would be "interested" in knowing if Tesla's autopilot mode was in use leading up to the crash, but its field investigation didn't have any updated information on whether that was the case. Tesla said this week it was still working on retrieving the vehicle's logs from an internal computer.
Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -2.16 % 's "Autopilot" feature wasn't in use during a deadly crash of one of its vehicles south of Amsterdam, the company said. "We can confirm from the car's logs that Autopilot was not engaged at any time during the drive cycle and that, consistent with the damage that was observed after the vehicle struck the tree, the vehicle was being driven at more than 155 km/h," Tesla said Thursday in a prepared statement. Tesla and Dutch authorities were investigating the incident Wednesday. Tesla crashes have come under scrutiny since the company revealed in June that a Model S ran into a truck in Florida while in its Autopilot feature was engaged. The driver died, marking the first death in which Tesla's Autopilot was active.
Leslie Stahl asked Elon Musk on Sunday's episode of 60 Minutes, as the scene showed her riding on the freeway with Musk in a red Tesla Model 3. "Yeah," the CEO answered, settling back into the driver's seat, his hands clasped together over his stomach, after turning on the car's semiautonomous driving system. "Now you're not driving at all," Stahl said, incredulously, looking over at his feet. Musk went on to demonstrate the car's new Navigate on Autopilot feature, which lets it change lanes by itself. Stahl's wowed reaction--"Oh my goodness"--matches that of many people when they first see the Tesla take control of its steering and speed. But her questioning, trying to gauge Musk's involvement in the driving process, highlights a significant issue Tesla faces as it rolls out ever more advanced Autopilot features.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has demanded that the company behind a gadget called the Autopilot Buddy stops selling the device in the US. The gizmo makes Tesla's Autopilot think a driver has their hands on the steering wheel, and stops the system from urging drivers to put them there. Autopilot only works when a driver's hands are in the correct place and apply some pressure. The Autopilot Buddy is marketed as a "Tesla Autopilot nag reduction device." It's a $199 magnetic, plastic gadget that clasps around the wheel and makes Autopilot thinks the driver's hands are in the correct spot.