Photo: Scott J. Engle
According to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Autopilot could not have been deployed on the stretch of road where the Model S crashed in Texas last month. This proves that Autopilot was not involved in the accident, although other details of the crash remain to be seen.
The crash in Texas attracted a lot of attention, because the police, without any investigation, assumed that no one was in the driver's seat at the time of the event. This sparked a wave of unfounded speculation that Tesla's Autopilot was activated when the accident happened. The results published by the NTSB help clarify some of the issues surrounding this accident.
According to the NTSB report, only adaptive cruise control can be used on this section of the road, Autosteer was not available on that part of the road. Thus, Autopilot, which is a function that keeps the car in the lane, is impossible to use on this section of the road.
In addition, surveillance footage of the owner of a house shows that only two men get into the car—one of them in the driver's seat, the other in the front passenger seat. "Footage from the owner’s home security camera shows the owner entering the car’s driver’s seat and the passenger entering the front passenger seat. The car leaves and travels about 550 feet before departing the road on a curve, driving over the curb, and hitting a drainage culvert, a raised manhole, and a tree."
The NTSB said it will continue to collect data for analysis that will show in more detail the crash dynamics, postmortem toxicology test results, seat belt use, occupant egress, and electric vehicle fires.
© 2021, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.