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Police probe whether Autopilot feature was on in Tesla crash

16 May 2018

A Tesla Inc Model S crashed at speed into a truck from the city's Unified Fire Authority in South Jordan, Utah, late on Friday after failing to slow for a red light, South Jordan police said on Monday.

Police said on Monday that the driver, who suffered a broken ankle, said she had been using Autopilot before the crash. Police say witnesses told them the driver of the Tesla did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision.

Also on Monday, Tesla said its highest-ranking engineer would take a leave of absence and CEO Elon Musk formally announced the restructuring he had previously hinted about on Tesla's freakish first-quarter earnings conference call.

Tesla can not seem to stay out of the news lately. Police in a Salt Lake City suburb say it's not immediately known whether a Tesla Model S sedan's semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system was in use when it rear-ended a truck apparently without braking before impact at approximately 60 miles per hour.

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and the thought of self-driving cars slowly starts to become a reality, consumers are leery of giving up total control of the wheel. The vehicle had a human safety driver but was in autonomous mode when the accident occurred, and Uber failed to reveal additional details.

The news comes a day after Musk said Tesla was undergoing a "thorough reorganization" as it contends with production problems, senior staff departures and recent crashes involving its electric cars.

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The US' National Transport Safety Board is investigating after the crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 8 May.

"This remains an active investigation and the South Jordan Police Department is now working with technicians from Tesla to gather and review data stored within the vehicle, which may take several days", police sergeant Samuel Winkler said in a statement published online this week.

Two 18-year-olds were trapped in the vehicle and killed in the flames. The Silicon Valley luxury electric auto maker previously warned of 10 days of temporary shutdowns this quarter as the company addresses manufacturing problems that have delayed volume production of the Model 3 sedan, which is seen as crucial to Tesla's long-term profitability. The driver in that incident died, but Tesla said he was pulled from the vehicle before it caught fire.

Regulators are also looking into the performance of the Autopilot system in the March crash of a Tesla Model X SUV that crashed on a California highway.

"The system worked as described, which is that it's a hands-on system". "Eyetracking rejected for being ineffective, not for cost", Musk tweeted. "A system that, on balance, saves lives & reduces injuries should be released".

Police probe whether Autopilot feature was on in Tesla crash