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

A Tesla auto was driving in “autopilot” mode where reference is disintegrated into a stopped firetruck in Utah, the company said in a report to police that frequently cast accuse on the motorist , 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 direction 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 driver, who suffered a broken ankle when her Tesla Model S disintegrated, had turned on the “autosteer” and “cruise control” features about 80 seconds before the clang and taken her hands off the rotate, Tesla officials told police on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, Elon Musk’s electric car company has faced fresh scrutiny 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 innumerable high-profile autopilot accidents, 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 features contribute operators a inaccurate sense of security, allowing them to become readily confused.

The 28 -year-old Utah motorist 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 operator taking her hands off the wheel for more than one minute at a time and that she only re-engaged when she was provided visual alertings.

” Drivers are frequently advised Autopilot aspects do not realize Tesla vehicle’ autonomous’ and that the move perfectly must remain vigilant with their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and they must be prepared to take any and all action necessary to avoid fortunes on the road ,” the company wrote.

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

The car was traveling at 60 miles per hour when the clang happened, Tesla said, adding that the operator 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 times” and used the feature on a street with no centre median and with intersections controlled by stoplights.

Asked why the autopilot engineering did not prevent the collision, a spokesperson told the Guardian in an email:” Tesla told police that the clang passed because the driver did not pay attention to the road at all times, and that Autopilot is not intended for use without a fully attentive operator .”

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

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

Musk likewise blamed writers for used to describe the clang in a series of tweets earlier this week.

The first fatal autopilot disintegrate happened in 2016 when Tesla’s software failed to “see” the white side of a tractor-trailer in its footpath against the backdrop of a white-hot sky.

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