Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode crashes into fire truck in Utah

15 May, 2018, 22:28 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Elon Musk poses with a Tesla outside the company’s factory in Silicon Valley October 2011

"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in USA auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage", Musk tweeted.

The driver of a Tesla electric auto had the vehicle's semi-autonomous Autopilot mode engaged when she slammed into the back of a Utah fire truck over the weekend, in the latest crash involving a auto with self-driving features.

Tesla officials and Utah police wouldn't provide additional details Monday about the Friday evening crash that left the Tesla Model S driver with a broken ankle.

Among Tesla's recent negative headlines have been concerns over production goals, inquiries about vehicle safety in the wake of a pair of high-profile crashes, fears over the company's cash burn rate, and an unusual earnings call with CEO Elon Musk. The driver of the fire truck suffered whiplash and was not taken to a hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) spokesperson Keith Holloway said it has not opened up an investigation into the crash, but might yet do so.

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News of the crash came as a top Tesla official who had been the main technical contact with USA safety investigators left the company to join rival Waymo. In March, a Tesla Model X SUV crashed on a California highway, killing the driver, and investigators are looking into the performance of the semi-autonomous driving system in that crash. Now, Musk has said in the email to the Tesla staff that it was "flattening the management structure to improve communication", and cutting activities that are not "not vital to the success of our mission".

Tesla will "continue to hire rapidly in critical hourly and salaried positions to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development", according to the memo.

"Witnesses indicated the Tesla Model S did not brake prior to impact", the statement said. It was unknown at the time of the accident whether the driver was operating on the Autopilot feature.

After a rough start to the week - Tesla shares closed down 3 per cent Monday after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk announced a "thorough reorganization" - Jonas' latest call is further weighing on the stock today, with shares down 2.6 per cent in pre-market trading. Autopilot, a form of advanced cruise control, handles some driving tasks and warns those behind the wheel they are always responsible for the vehicle's safe operation.

The investigation into the crash in Utah is ongoing, police said.

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