Tesla on deadly Model X crash: 'Autopilot was engaged', driver didn't heed warnings

<i>Image: Twitter</i>
<i>Image: Twitter</i>

California - Earlier in March, the driver of a Tesla Model X died due to injuries sustained during a crash in Califonia.

According to California Highway Patrol, the Model X hit the median barrier on highway 101, in the Bay Area, and was struck by two other vehicles cars.

The vehicle burst into flames. Police report that although the driver was rushed to hospital but succumbed to his injuries. 

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it would investigate the crash. In March, Tesla stated that it was saddened by the crash and said it would be  conducting its own investigation. 

Image: Twitter

Tesla responds

On March 30, the automaker has released an update:

Tesla said: "Since posting our first update, we have been working as quickly as possible to establish the facts of last week’s accident. Our hearts are with the family and friends who have been affected by this tragedy.

"The safety of our customers is our top priority, which is why we are working closely with investigators to understand what happened, and what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future. After the logs from the computer inside the vehicle were recovered, we have more information about what may have happened."

What happened?

Tesla said: "In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9:27am on March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.

"The reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced. We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash."

Is Tesla's autopilot safe?

Teslsa said: "Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the U.S. government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40%. Internal data confirms that recent updates to Autopilot have improved system reliability.

"In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware. If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur. It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists."

Click here to read the full statement



We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
What's more important when you're deciding to purchase a vehicle?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Affordability
28% - 607 votes
Safety features
10% - 223 votes
Reliability
38% - 826 votes
Good fuel consumption
11% - 241 votes
Styling
6% - 126 votes
Power figures
7% - 154 votes
Vote