TESLA CRASH UPDATE: “Autopilot was not enabled”

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The Tesla involved in the April 2021 incident in Texas. Image: The Verge via Twitter

A Tesla electric vehicle that appeared to have no one in the driver seat when it crashed in Texas, killed two people who were in the front passenger and back seats.

The 2019 Model S was originally believed to have been in ‘autopilot’ mode when it failed to navigate a turn and crashed into a tree, but Elon Musk has revealed initial investigations show this was not the case.

“Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled and this car did not purchase FSD*,” Elon Musk said in a tweet.

“Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”

When the vehicle crashed, it subsequently burst into flames, and took fire-fighters four hours to extinguish because the batteries kept reigniting, with authorities having to call Tesla to ask how to best stop the fire.

While investigations into exactly what happened in the fatal accident continue, it has sparked debate over whether the right regulatory frameworks are in place to safely allow driver-assistance technology.

Concerns have been raised about the over-reliance on the feature by drivers currently, as Tesla is yet to release its full self-driving technology.

Tesla’s autopilot technology has lane centring, traffic-aware cruise control, self-parking, automatic lane changes, semi-autonomous navigation and the ability to summon the car from a garage or parking spot, with studies showing it is safer than human-driven cars.

It also has measures in place to ensure someone is in the drivers seat including weighted seat detection, and it cuts out if a driver’s hands are not on the steering wheel every 10 seconds.

FSD refers to full self driving.

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