United States regulator probes Tesla autopilot crash

Police pulled over a driver in a Tesla who was two times over the limit- his excuse? The car was driving

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says it's investigating the crash of a Tesla Model S electric auto that may have been operating under its semi-autonomous "Autopilot" system.

The NTSB has previously said Tesla's Autopilot system was a contributing factor in a 2016 fatal crash in Florida.

Autopilot also allows Tesla vehicles to change lanes and brake autonomously. The company said it has taken steps to educate drivers about the need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and be prepared to take over from Autopilot, which it calls an "advanced driver assistance system" that is not meant to turn the vehicle into an autonomous auto.

In the crash on Monday, the Tesla Model S drove into the back of a fire engine that was parked just off the main highway as it was attending to a crash on the other side of the motorway. "Amazingly there were no injuries!"




Tesla wouldn't say if Autopilot was working at the time of the Culver City crash, but said in a statement Monday that drivers must stay attentive when it's in use.

While Tesla's Autopilot system has driverless capabilities, reports the BBC News website, the company requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times - even if autonomous modes are activated. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent government agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation, said on Tuesday it had already sent two investigators to the scene to conduct a field investigation. The company has repeatedly reminded drivers of this fact, as several drivers have blamed the Autopilot for accidents over the last couple of years. That has helped the automaker counter claims by drivers in several other incidents who apparently tried to diminish their own responsibility by claiming an Autopilot malfunction. The system monitors whether a driver is paying attention using a small camera on the top of the steering wheel column to track head position. The crash remains under investigation, the highway patrol said. It released a 500-page report a year ago that revealed former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown, 40, kept his hands off the wheel of his Tesla for extended periods of time despite warnings from the automated system. Tesla has taken steps to prevent drivers from using Autopilot improperly, including measuring the amount of torque applied to the steering wheel and sending visual and audio warnings.

The Tesla incident comes days after an accident surfaced involving a Chevy Bolt, GM's answer to the Tesla Model 3.

The motorcyclist is now suing GM, BBC said in a report.

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