Tesla is once again facing questions about the autopilot following an accident. KHOU, To Wall Street Journal And Reuters Report that no one was on the driver’s seat after the 2019 Model S crashed into a tree north of Houston, killing two people. One was in the front passenger seat, Constable Mark Harman told the media, while the other was in the back.
It is not yet certain whether Autopilot was active during the accident. The men have not been identified, but one was 59 years old while the other was 69 years old.
We have asked Tesla and NHTSA for comment.
If the Model S was indeed driverless, the incident suggests that occupants misunderstood autopilot, complete self-driving, or both. There has long been a concern that customers get ahead of the technology and assume that they can remove their hands from the steering wheel or leave the driver’s seat altogether. However, even FSD Beta does not offer full autonomy, and you have to be ready to take control at any time – the car will ask you to grab the wheel if you leave it alone for long.
The accident is also a warning that emergency crews are not yet fully compatible with electric cars and their large lithium batteries. Constable Herman said that the Model S fire took the first four hours to fire out, and the team contacted Tesla for help. This does not make EVs more dangerous by design, but it does indicate that it may be some time before firefighters can quickly deal with these cars with their gas-powered counterparts.
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