Jul 08, 2016

    Probe into 2nd Tesla crash over autopilot use


    UNITED States highway safety officials said on Wednesday that they are investigating a second crash of a Tesla car that may have been operating on the vehicle's pioneering self-drive autopilot technology.

    A week after a fatal Florida crash came to light involving the electric car's autopilot hands-free system, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was looking at a non-fatal accident on July 1 in Pennsylvania.

    It is investigating "to determine whether automated functions were in use at the time of the crash", a spokesman said.

    According to the Detroit Free Press, the owner of a Model X, Tesla's newest, SUV-styled model, told police the car was using autopilot when it crashed and rolled over last week.

    Both the owner and his son escaped injury.

    Tesla confirmed it had received a message from the car "indicating a crash event". But it said it had not received driving logs that would confirm whether the self-drive system had been in operation.

    "As we do with all crash events, we immediately reached out to the customer to confirm they were OK and offer support but were unable to reach him," the company said. "It is not possible to learn more without access to the vehicle's onboard logs."

    The autopilot system can steer the car on highways and apply brakes if its sensors detect danger.

    But the Pennsylvania crash added to concerns that the self-drive system is encouraging drivers to take their hands off the wheel for extended periods even though the car cannot sense and avoid all dangers.