Tesla has always defended its semi-autonomous Autopilot system whenever a crash took place, and such is the case even now when a Model S crashed in Indianapolis yesterday. The fatal accident led to the death of the driver and passenger, but the EV firm says it’s unlikely that the Autopilot system was engaged, reports ABC News.
Autopilot might not be responsible
Indianapolis police are investigating the crash that took place on Thursday, and the company said in a late Thursday statement that it is fully cooperating with the investigation. It added that no data was transmitted to Tesla’s servers because the damage that the car sustained was too much. Whether or not the driver had the Autopilot engaged at the time of the accident can be known only from the data.
It also said that the system probably wasn’t engaged because had it been engaged, it would have limited the vehicle’s speed to less than 35 miles per hour on the street where the accident took place. Tesla further said that the damage to the car and the witness statements suggest that the car was going faster than that.
The accident took place at around 1 a.m., and witnesses report that the car was running at an astonishing high rate when it hit a tree and then crashed into a building. It caught fire and was leaving a trail of burning battery components, witnesses reported.
The Palo Alto, California-based company expressed its grief and said, “We are deeply saddened to hear that this accident involved fatalities.”
Fourth Tesla to catch fire this year
Authorities say that 27-year-old driver Casey Speckman and 44-year-old passenger Kevin McCarthy were killed in the crash. Investigators are trying to figure out if Autopilot played a role in the accident, police spokesman Major Richard Riddle informed the media on Thursday.
So far this year, four Tesla vehicles have caught fire, of which one happened after an impact on the highway, while the other two happened without any impact, says Electrek. One took place during a test drive when Tesla said the person who tried to charge it had improperly tightened an electrical connection. The other fire without an impact took place while the car was being charged at a Supercharger station. Tesla has issued instructions regarding what should be done when something like this happens.
“If the high voltage battery catches fire, is exposed to high heat, or is bent, twisted, cracked, or breached in any way, use large amounts of water to cool the battery. DO NOT extinguish with a small amount of water. Always establish or request an additional water supply,” the EV firm recommends.