Company supports its technology failed to stop collision on same day US traffic safety watchdog opens investigation into crash

A Tesla vehicle was driving in “autopilot” mode when it crashed into a stopped firetruck in Utah, the company said in a report to police that frequently cast blame on the move , not its semi-autonomous driving system.

The confirmation that the vehicle’s technology failed to prevent it from colliding with a stopped object in its path came the same day that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration( NHTSA) announced it was sending a team to investigate the 11 May crash in Utah.

Tesla officials told police on Wednesday that the motorist, who suffered a broken ankle when her Tesla Model S gate-crashed, had turned on the “autosteer” and “cruise control” peculiarities about 80 seconds before the accident and taken her hands off the rotation, Tesla officials told police on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, Elon Musk’s electric car company has faced fresh investigation over the safety of its autopilot aspect, which is supposed to assist operators in steering the road but cannot drive the cars on its own. In answer to numerous high-profile autopilot gate-crashes, including a fatal collision in California, the CEO has insisted that his engineering is safer than traditional cars. Yet some experts have warned that the semi-autonomous peculiarities hold moves a false-hearted sense of security, allowing them to become easily distracted.

The 28 -year-old Utah driver was looking at her telephone before the collision and was given a traffic citation for” failure to keep proper lookout”, police said Wednesday.

Tesla’s report to police said there were more than a dozen instances of the driver taking her hands off the rotation for more than one minute at a time and that she only re-engaged when she was provided visual notifies.

” Drivers are frequently admonished Autopilot peculiarities do not see Tesla vehicle’ autonomous’ and that the operator perfectly must remain vigilant with their gazes on the road, sides on the pedal and they must be prepared to take any and all action necessary to avoid mishaps along the road ,” the company wrote.

The Tesla Model S is seen after it affected the back of a firetruck in South Jordan, Utah. Photograph: Handout/ Reuters

The car was traveling at 60 km / hour when the accident happened, Tesla said, adding that the move manually pressed the vehicle brake fractions of a second before the collision. The driver’s use of autopilot was ” contrary to proper use”, Tesla said, because she” did not pay attention to the road at all ages” and used the aspect on a street with no middle median and with intersections controlled under stoplights.

Asked why the autopilot engineering did not prevent the collision, a spokesperson told the Guardian in an email:” Tesla told police that the crash appeared because the motorist did not pay attention to the road at all day, and that Autopilot is not intended for use without a fully solicitous motorist .”

The spokesperson likewise pointed to Tesla’s manual, which informs its motorists that the cruise control boast cannot detect all objects and may not brake or slow down for stationary vehicles and that its” automated emergency restraint” is not a substitute for drivers maintaining a safe distance from the cars in front of them.

Tesla likewise declined to comment on the NHTSA investigation. In recent weeks, the company has publicly feuded with US sleuths over continuing federal inquests related to autopilot.

Musk too criticized reporters for writing about the accident in a series of tweets earlier this week.

The first fatal autopilot accident have taken place in 2016 when Tesla’s software failed to “see” the white side of a tractor-trailer in its direction against a background of a white sky.


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