A Michigan driver told police his Tesla Model X was in autopilot mode during a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, reports the Detroit Free Press. The car reportedly struck a guardrail, traveled across several lanes of traffic, struck a concrete median, and rolled over.
A Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Fast Company:
We have no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident. Anytime there is a significant accident, Tesla receives a crash detection alert. As is our practice with all collisions, we immediately reached out to the customer to make sure he was safe. Until the customer responds, we are unable to further investigate.
In a follow-up statement, the company wrote:
We received an automated alert from this vehicle on July 1 indicating airbag deployment, but logs containing detailed information on the state of the vehicle controls at the time of the collision were never received. This is consistent with damage of the severity reported in the press, which can cause the antenna to fail. As we do with all crash events, we immediately reached out to the customer to confirm they were ok and offer support but were unable to reach him. We have since attempted to contact the customer three times by phone without success. Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident.
A police officer who responded to the scene of the accident told the Free Press that the driver may be cited, though he declined to specify a charge. The crash comes soon after news that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a fatal crash where a Tesla vehicle in autopilot mode is said to have driven into the side of a tractor-trailer, killing the Tesla's driver. The truck driver has said he believed the Tesla driver was watching a movie at the time, and police have said they found a portable DVD player in the car. SM