Tesla Model S involved in another Autopilot accident

Tesla crash

South Jordan Police Department via AP

Police told FOX 13 that the woman reported she was using the car's autopilot feature at the time of the crash, which happened on Bangerter Highway and 10400 S around 6:30 p.m. that day.

The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which led to the death of a 38-year-old father of two, Walter Huang.

Police say the auto smashed into a stationary firetruck at around 100km/h, leaving the driver with a broken right ankle.

During this "drive cycle", the Model S registered "more than a dozen instances of her hands being off the steering wheel".

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A Tesla spokesperson issued a statement saying the company makes it clear Autopilot is not meant to serve as self-driving technology and that drivers must remain engaged with the vehicle at all times.

A Tesla sedan with a semi-autonomous Autopilot feature rear-ended a fire department truck at 60 miles per hour (97 kph) apparently without braking before impact on May 11, 2018, but police say it's unknown if the Autopilot feature was engaged. "She did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds until the crash happened; this is consistent with her admission that she was looking at her phone at the time".

Contrary to the proper use of Autopilot, the driver did not pay attention to the road at all times, did not keep her hands on the steering wheel, and she used it on a street with no center median and with stoplight controlled intersections.

"Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the vehicle impervious to all accidents", the statement said. "Based upon witness information, the driver of the Tesla did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision", a statement from South Jordan Police said.

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Tesla's Autopilot relies on a system of radar, cameras with 360-degree visibility and sensors to detect nearby objects and perform basic functions such as parking and steering. According to the summary released by police, the driver pressed on the brake herself "fractions of a second prior to the crash" and the vehicle had not slowed down from the speed she had set for cruise control. It is at least the second Tesla crash linked to the semi-autonomous Autopilot system being investigated by the government agency since January. The rating was somewhat expected because all the three vehicles boast the same active safety features - including Automatic Emergency Braking - powered by the Autopilot system. Tesla says the system is not created to avoid a collision and warns drivers not to rely on it entirely.

This is the latest investigation by federal regulators into recent accidents involving Tesla vehicles.

It's unclear if that system activated before the Utah crash.

Also in March, an Arizona pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle with a backup driver behind the wheel.

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