Furthermore, standard autopilot would require standard lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.” In order for autopilot to work, road markers must be recorded by a vehicle’s cameras.
A senior officer said on Monday that Texas police will issue search warrants on Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) on Tuesday to secure data from the fatal crash after CEO Elon Musk’s tweet.
Proof, including witness statements, showed that no one was in the driver’s seat of the Model S when it crashed into a tree on Saturday night, killing two people, according to Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4.
“If he is tweeting that out, if he has already pulled the data, he hasn’t told us that,” Herman told a news outlet. “We will eagerly wait for that data.”
The crash is the 28th Tesla accident to be probed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which regulates vehicle safety.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is also looking into it, after Tesla was suspended as a party to an earlier inquiry into a fatal crash in 2018 after the company made specifics of the investigation public without permission.
The 2019 Tesla Model S was speeding near Houston on Saturday when it failed to negotiate a curve and went off the road, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames, according to Herman.
The bodies of two men were discovered in the car, one in the front passenger seat and the other in the backseat.
“We have witness statements from people that said they left to test drive the vehicle without a driver and to show the friend how it can drive itself,” Herman said.
Tesla’s Autopilot is a driver assistance device that helps drivers with certain driving tasks and allows them to take their hands off the wheel at times. However, Tesla claims that the features “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
Tesla has access to operational and diagnostic data from the vehicle, which has been impounded by police, which is sent to its servers at “regular intervals.” It’s uncertain if investigators would be able to get data directly from the heavily burned vehicle’s event data recorder.
“Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle,” Musk tweeted just hours before the crash.
Tesla’s Autopilot technology has been the subject of increased scrutiny after it was found in at least three Tesla vehicles involved in fatal U.S. crashes in 2016.
Last month, NHTSA launched 27 special investigations into Tesla vehicle accidents, 23 of which are still ongoing, in crashes suspected to be caused by Autopilot use.
A request for comment was not answered by Tesla. Its shares dropped 3.4 percent on Monday before rising 1.5 percent in after-hours trading in response to Musk’s tweet.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, tweeted that “using Tesla’s driverless system — or any other — shouldn’t be a death risk. Advancements in driving technology must first & foremost be safe.”
The NTSB, which makes safety recommendations but does not have the authority to order recalls, said its investigation into the Texas crash would concentrate on “the vehicle’s operation and the post-crash fire.”
Because of the car’s lithium ion battery, fire officials said it took four hours to fully extinguish the fire.