Tesla revealed new information about a collision involving a Model X, in which the driver of the electric SUV was killed last week.
The company said in a blog post on Friday night that the Model X had been operating on Autopilot, its semi-autonomous driving system, before the crash, according to data obtained from onboard vehicle logs. The driver had also set a distance-control feature that determines how much space the Model X keeps between itself and other vehicles to the “minimum” setting, the company said.
According to Tesla, the driver had received “several visual and one audible hands-on warning” during the drive, and their hands were not detected on the steering wheel “six seconds prior to the collision.”
The Model X slammed into a highway barrier in the Northern California city of Mountain View on March 23. The driver later died at a hospital.
Tesla said the driver “had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating. Two other vehicles were involved in the collision.
It is the second collision involving a Tesla operating on Autopilot that the NTSB has investigated so far this year. The agency was also looking into a Model S sedan that collided with a fire truck in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City in January.
Tesla has said that “Autopilot is not a fully self-driving technology and drivers need to remain attentive at all times.”
The Autopilot system is designed to warn drivers whenever it detects that the driver’s hands are not on the wheel. The severity of those alerts gradually escalates if the driver does not respond. The Autopilot system eventually deactivates itself if the driver ignores the warnings.
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