US safety team to investigate crash caused on Tesla autopilot
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will send a special crash investigation team to Detroit, US to probe a crash involving a Tesla that drove beneath a semitrailer. The agency said that its team will investigate the "violent crash".
The accident that recently took place in the city's southwest side at around 3.20 am had critically injured two people. The white Tesla that drove through an intersection and struck the trailer, after which it got wedged beneath it.
Two passengers inside the car - the male driver and the female passenger were rushed to a local hospital. The woman was seen in critical condition on the day of the accident while information on the driver's condition was not known at the time.
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The Tesla-semi crash's circumstances were quite similar to two other crashes in Florida involving Tesla. In those cases also, the electric sedan drove beneath tractor-trailers, causing fatalities. In both the cases, the Tesla cars were being driven on the company's Autopilot system - the partially automated driving software. For the latest case, the Detroit Police Sergeant Nicole Kirkwood was not sure whether the Tesla was using the company's Autopilot or “full self-driving" software. "It's still under investigation," she said.
Previously, Tesla has said that the company's Autopilot and "full self-driving" software are driver-assistance systems and that the driver must still be ready to intervene at all times.
However, Tesla has time and again been criticized by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for its failure in adequately monitoring drivers to make sure that they pay attention even while using the company's Autopilot system. The NTSB, which investigates crashes and makes recommendations, has also criticized the EV giant for its failure to limit the system to work on roads that it is not designed for or cannot handle.