In a recent statement, Tesla Motors defended the Autopilot feature in a Model X SUV involved into a fatal crash in Northern California on Friday.
The company argued that many Teslas on Autopilot mode have driven the same stretch of the highway where the accident occurred tens of thousands of times and nothing wrong happened.
The latest fatal crash occurred on a highway in Mountain View on Friday afternoon.
Earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced a probe into the issue. Investigators are interested in finding why the collision was so severe and how the car caught fire. The NTSB couldn’t tell if the vehicle was on Autopilot mode when the crash occurred, but Tesla defended the technology in a blog post.
2 NTSB investigators conducting Field Investigation for fatal March 23, 2018, crash of a Tesla near Mountain View, CA. Unclear if automated control system was active at time of crash. Issues examined include: post-crash fire, steps to make vehicle safe for removal from scene.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) March 27, 2018
Tesla is Defending the Autopilot Tech
In the post, the company underlined that numerous Tesla cars on Autopilot have passed the same stretch of highway where the crash occurred at least 85,000 times since the feature hit the market and 20,000 times in the last three months. Tesla released the Autopilot mode in 2015.
Tesla also explained that the crash was so devastating because the collision barrier in that location had been removed. The company acknowledged that it hasn’t seen “this level of damage to a Model X” in any previous accident.
The NRSB announced that it has deployed two investigators to the scene. The agency couldn’t tell how long an investigation would take; usually such investigations last from 12 to 18 months.
Since Tesla launched Autopilot, the feature has been criticized for creating the illusion to drivers that their car was autonomous. Tesla has often urged drivers to never take their hands off wheel when Autopilot is on.
In 2016, a Florida man died in a Tesla Model S after his Autopilot feature drove the car into a parked truck.
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