South Jordan Police Department over AP
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (AP) – A Tesla limousine with a semi-autonomous autopilot function has ended a fire truck truck at 60 mph without seeming to brake before impact, but the police say it is unknown when the autopilot function was activated.
The cause of the Friday crash, which was halted by a Tesla Model S and a red-light fire truck mechanic truck, was investigated, police said in South Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City.
The crash that injured the Tesla driver comes when federal security officials investigate the performance of Tesla's semi-autonomous driving system.
The Tesla airbags were activated during the crash, South Jordan police Sgt. Samuel Winkler said Saturday. The driver of the Tesla suffered a broken right ankle, and the driver of the mechanic truck of the Uniform Fire Department needed no treatment, said Winkler.
There was no indication that the driver of the Tesla was under the influence of any substance, and information about what the driver might have told the investigators about the circumstances of the accident would be likely not available before Monday, Winkler said by phone.
There was light rain and roads were wet when the accident occurred, the police said in a statement.
"Witnesses stated that the Tesla Model S did not brake before impact," the statement said.
Tesla's autopilot system uses cameras, radar, and computers to maintain speed, change lane, and automatically stop vehicles.
The company, based in Palo Alto, California, with a huge battery factory in Reno, Nevada, tells drivers that the system requires them to keep an eye on the road and their hands on the steering wheel can take control to avoid accidents.
The police said they were in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board because of the accident. NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said he did not know if the agency would join the accident.
Tesla did not immediately respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.
The NTSB and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigate at least two more Tesla vehicle accidents. In March, a Tesla Model X SUV crashed on a highway in California and killed the driver. The investigators are investigating the performance of the semi-autonomous driving system in this accident.