Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode crashes into fire truck in Utah

Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode crashes into fire truck in Utah

On Friday night a Tesla Model S sedan traveling at about 97km/h smashed into a fire engine that was stopped at a red light about 30 kilometres south of Salt Lake City, Utah.

"This remains an active investigation and the South Jordan Police Department is now working with technicians from Tesla to gather and review data stored within the vehicle, which may take several days", police sergeant Samuel Winkler said in a statement published online this week.

Police said on Monday that the driver, who suffered a broken ankle, said she had been using Autopilot before the crash.

Responding to a user who indicated that Tesla's autopilot function still needs safety tweaking, Musk stated: "It certainly needs to be better & we work to improve it every day, but flawless is enemy of good".

Tesla has yet to officially respond to the incident, although the company's CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has been talking about it on Twitter.

On Monday firefighters in Switzerland said a fatal accident involving a Tesla may have set off a fire in the car's battery. "A collision at this speed usually results in serious injury or death", wrote Musk in his blog.

"What is truly surprising about this accident is the fact that the Model S had an accident with a speed of 60 miles per hour, and the driver only broke his ankle".

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Since the driver was not fully focused on the road, it is unlikely that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the accident, the newspaper says.

Two 18-year-olds were trapped in the vehicle and killed in the flames.

Additionally, the NTSB is also looking into a 2016 accident in which the driver of a Tesla slammed into a tractor trailer and died. In March, a Tesla Model X SUV crashed on a California highway, killing the driver, and investigators are looking into the performance of the semi-autonomous driving system in that crash. The agency has said it does not expect the semi-autonomous system to be a focus of that investigation.

In April, Musk was asked by "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, "what's the objective of having autopilot if you still have to put your hands on the wheel?"

In his e-mail to staff, Musk said Tesla was "flattening the management structure to improve communication", combining functions and trimming activities "not vital to the success of our mission" in the reorganisation.

In March, an Arizona pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber auto, in the first death of its kind. Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving unit, said on Sunday that Matthew Schwall had joined from Tesla, where he was its main technical contact with USA safety investigators. The police department said it could take several days for Tesla to download the vehicle's data.

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