Tesla's autopilot is being blamed after a Tesla car accelerated and rolled over into a Minnesota marsh.
One reason why Tesla may be trading over 3% lower this morning is a report in the Star Tribune, according to which a Twin Cities man whose Tesla overturned in a central Minnesota marsh, is blaming the crash on the car’s “autopilot”, according to authorities. David Clark, 58, of Eden Prairie, said he was driving Saturday evening before sunset on a country road 18 miles northeast of Willmar, when the car “suddenly accelerated” and overturned in the marsh, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Sunday.
The crash occurred after “Clark ... engaged the autopilot feature,” sending the car off eastbound 172nd Avenue NE. and rolling into the marsh, the Sheriff’s Office statement continued. Deputies arrived at the scene to find to find the Tesla on its roof.
He told police: 'When he engaged the auto pilot (sic) feature, that the vehicle suddenly accelerated causing the car to leave the roadway and overturn.
Clark and four adults in the vehicle were slightly hurt.
Alleged malfunctions have plagued Tesla's autopilot in the past, most notably in May 2016, when a motorist near Gainesville, Florida, was killed when his Tesla collided with a semitrailer truck while in the self-driving mode. The crash brought intense scrutiny on the technology and whether the car’s manufacturer overstated the capability of the autopilot feature. A review by Federal investigators of the crash concluded there was no safety defect involved in the crash, and chose not to impose a recall. At the same time, regulators in January warned the vehicle’s operators to not treat the semiautonomous cars as if they are fully self-driving.
Other recent cases include the moment a Tesla Model S crashed into a highway barrier in Dallas in March, when its autopilot failed to spot the merging of traffic lanes and when a Model X crashed into a beauty salon in California. In most cases, Tesla was able to pull the data logs from the car and found that the driver was actually to blame for ignoring alerts or not keeping their hands on the steering wheel.
A Tesla spokesperson told Jalopnik they have launched an investigation into the incident. 'We have not yet established whether the vehicle’s Autopilot feature was activated, and have no reason to believe that Autopilot, which has been found by NHTSA to reduce accident rates by 40 percent, worked other than as designed.
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