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Tesla: Autopilot engaged at the time of fatal Model X crash

Tesla: Autopilot engaged at the time of fatal Model X crash

by Ronan Glon

Tesla added the driver had "five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view" of the concrete divider he slammed into.

Tesla has released a statement explaining its Autopilot suite of electronic driving aids was engaged when a Model X rammed into a concrete barrier earlier this week. The driver died at the hospital.

"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 company wrote in a statement it published late Friday night.


New: In late Friday statement @Tesla says Autopilot engaged in fatal crash, raising several questions about the system pic.twitter.com/bFR1ArwDT9

— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) March 31, 2018



Tesla added the driver had "five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view" of the concrete divider he slammed into. The statement suggests -- but doesn't explicitly state -- he wasn't paying attention to the road ahead.

The statement blames the severity of the crash on poor roadway maintenance. The crash attenuator the Model X drove into was crushed in a previous accident and not repaired or replaced.

"We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash," Tesla concluded.

The crash comes at a bad time for autonomous technology. Self-driving cars are receiving extra scrutiny from authorities after a Volvo XC90-based prototype built and operated by Uber killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.