Tesla Driver in Utah Crash Says Autopilot Was Engaged

Darnell Taylor
May 15, 2018

The Utah driver who slammed her Tesla Model S into the back of a fire truck last week said the vehicle's Autopilot feature was engaged at the time of the crash, according to police.

The Tesla Autopilot system uses various sensors, cameras, and radar to provide semi-autonomous driving to drivers. The company says when the system is engaged their cars can automatically change lanes, steer, park and brake to help avoid collisions.

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 ideal is enemy of good".

While a Tesla spokesperson failed to comment following the accident, the company's co-founder Elon Musk took to Twitter to note that it was "super messed up" that the latest accident had garnered so much public attention, while accidents involving traditional cars "get nearly no coverage".

A Tesla Inc Model S crashed at speed into a truck from the city's Unified Fire Authority in South Jordan, Utah, late on Friday after failing to slow for a red light, South Jordan police said on Monday.

The driver, whom police have not named, was taken to a hospital with a broken foot.

"What's actually fantastic about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 m.p.h. and the driver only broke an ankle", he added.

Complicating Tesla's problems, however, have been reports of a series of recent crashes that have resulted in several deaths and injuries.

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Swiss firefighters have indicated the impact of a fatal crash involving a Tesla auto may have triggered a battery fire, causing the vehicle to go up in flames. Two teens were later killed, a third injured, in a Florida crash in which their Model S sedan's battery pack caught fire after a crash. Two people died in that incident, although the NTSB does not believe that Tesla's semi-autonomous system was to blame.

In March, a Tesla Model X was on autopilot mode when it collided with a barrier on Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif., killing the 38-year-old driver.

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

Musk has repeatedly scaled back Tesla's production schedule, something he recently referred to as a "time shift".

"The system worked as described, which is that it's a hands-on system".

In March, an Arizona pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle, in the first death of its kind.

There was light rain falling and roads were wet when the crash occurred, police said in a statement.

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