Tesla driver says she slammed into fire truck on Autopilot

Elon Musk poses with a Tesla outside the company’s factory in Silicon Valley October 2011

Elon Musk poses with a Tesla outside the company’s factory in Silicon Valley October 2011

The woman also told police that she was looking at his phone before the collision and estimated the speed of the vehicle at about 60 miles per hour (97 km/h), which is consistent with the testimonies of eyewitnesses. Police said the driver, who suffered a broken ankle, said she had been using Autopilot before the crash.

The Utah driver who slammed her Tesla Model S into the back of a fire truck last week said the vehicle's Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of the crash, according to police.

There was no indication the Tesla's driver was under the influence of any substance, and information on what the driver may have told investigators about the circumstances of the crash likely wouldn't be available before Monday, Winkler said by telephone.

Facing increasing problems that have raised concerns about both Tesla's technology and manufacturing operations, CEO Elon Musk has ordered a shake-up of the company's management structure.

A fire that caused the death of a German Tesla driver in the Swiss canton of Ticino on May 10th may have been caused by the battery, firefighters in the city of Bellinzona have suggested. "An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death", he tweeted.


A survey done as recently as February found that almost 60 percent of drivers who now own a connected auto said they wouldn't buy a self-driving vehicle, even if money wasn't a factor. Following the accident, and much consumer outcry over the safety of autonomous vehicles, Uber and Waymo advocated to have legislation passed that would quickly expand self-driving vehicle testing. Waymo said on Sunday that Matthew Schwall had joined it from Tesla, where he was its main technical contact with USA safety investigators, and last week Tesla said senior vice president of engineering Doug Field was taking time off to recharge.

Two 18-year-olds were trapped in the vehicle and killed in the flames. But the company has also found itself in the news because of a series of serious vehicle crashes, at least some of which appear to have occurred while they were operating in the semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. The driver in that incident died.

The NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are also looking into the performance of the company's Autopilot system in the March crash of a Tesla Model X on a California highway.

Over the past few months, the NTSB has begun investigating several incidents linked to Tesla's cars. The agency has said it does not expect the semi-autonomous system to be a focus of that investigation.

"It certainly needs to be better and we work to improve it every day, but flawless is the enemy of good", Musk tweeted. "A system that, on balance, saves lives & reduces injuries should be released".

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