The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), recently released a two-page preliminary report on the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S in Texas last month, which revealed that the AutoPilot feature was likely unavailable at the time of the accident.
The report also claims that local authorities believe there was no one in the driver’s seat when the accident occurred.
However, Tesla claims that local officials were wrong. Using their own data, company executives are claiming that the steering wheel was rather “deformed” and that the seat belts were fastened, leading to the conclusion that someone was at the wheel.
In the NTSB’s preliminary report, accident investigators informed the agency that while conducting tests on the same stretch of road, they were unable to activate a feature of the autopilot system known as “Autosteer” – a feature that helps keep a car centered in a lane. The report revealed that while Autosteer was not engaged during the acccident, the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control may have been.
The report also explained how the accident happened.
NTSB showed surveillance cameras from the owner’s home that captured the driver getting into the driver’s seat while his companion got in on the passenger side. Afterward, the car left the house, veered off the road at a bend, crashed into a sewer, a raised shaft, and a tree, then burst into flames, killing the two occupants.
NSTB also reported that some limited data was recovered from the crash site. While the fire destroyed the memory in the vehicle’s infotainment console, the restraint system module, which records data on the vehicle’s speed, seat belt status, acceleration and airbag deployment, was recovered with some damage.
It is unlikely that the board will issue its final report on this crash this year.
For more information, read the original story in The Verge.