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Tesla Model X was in autopilot before fatal crash

Tesla said autopilot was activated during a fatal Model X crash last week in California.The driver's hands wer...

Posted: Apr 1, 2018 1:23 PM
Updated: Apr 1, 2018 1:23 PM

Tesla said autopilot was activated during a fatal Model X crash last week in California.

The driver's hands were not on the steering wheel for about six seconds before the Model X collided with a highway median on Highway 101 in Mountain View, the company said in a statement issued late Friday. And the driver had received "several visual and one audible" cue from the vehicle to grab the wheel "earlier in the drive," it added.

The autopilot feature is not fully autonomous. It handles some driving functions, but not all, and drivers are expected to stay engaged when the feature is activated.

In a blog post, Tesla called the crash, which killed the driver, "devastating." It also said that drivers are safer when they have autopilot activated than when they do not.

"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents -- such a standard would be impossible -- but it makes them much less likely to occur," the post reads.

Related: Tesla stock falls after NTSB announces investigation into deadly crash

The company also pointed to a government report from January 2017 that found autopilot reduced crash rates for Tesla by 40%.

"The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe," Tesla said.

The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, and the news came amid a brutal week of headlines for Tesla as the company continues to struggle with production issues of its new mass-market car, the Model 3.

And a recall for 123,000 luxury Model S sedans was issued Thursday due to an issue that can make the cars difficult to steer at low speeds.

The company's shares are down more than 22% so far this month.

The Tesla crash followed a high-profile crash in Tempe, Arizona, in which a fully autonomous Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian.

Tesla's semi-autonomous autopilot technology has been a factor in crashes before. In January, a Model S sedan struck a fire truck while driving down a California highway. The driver was unharmed. And federal investigators found that Tesla's autopilot was partly to blame in the fatal crash of a Model S in 2016.

Tesla vehicles typically rank very high in terms of crash safety ratings. Last June, the Model X was deemed the safest SUV ever tested by federal regulators.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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