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Tesla Driver in Utah Crash Says Autopilot Was Engaged

15 May 2018

Tesla has yet to officially respond to the incident, although the company's CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has been talking about it on Twitter.

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.

"What's actually incredible about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 miles per hour and the driver only broke an ankle", Musk tweeted. The 28 year-old driver admitted to looking at her phone before the crash, despite the company's mandate that customers remain alert while using Autopilot, and not rely on the system entirely. While Tesla management believes the Model 3's margin falling below the company's 25-per-cent target will prove to be temporary, Jonas said the headwinds are more structural.

The motorist suffered a broken ankle and was taken to a hospital while a firefighter escaped unharmed.

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Meanwhile, Tesla is being investigated by the transport safety authorities for a crash, during which, the driver said, the Autopilot feature was on.

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.

"In exceptional circumstances, lithium ion batteries can experience a sudden and unstoppable rise in temperature - a sort of chain reaction that can lead to a breakdown of the thermal equilibrium of the system and to the complete destruction of the batteries and the auto", fire safety expert Guido Zaccarelli said in an article quoted by the Bellinzona fire brigade.

National Transportation Safety Board Keith Holloway said the agency is not yet investigating the matter.

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"To ensure that Tesla is well-prepared for the future, we have been undertaking a thorough reorganization of our company", Musk said in the memo, obtained by CNBC.

The chief executive said in his email that Tesla will still hire critical positions to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development.

A Tesla spokesperson told Newsweek on Tuesday: "Tesla has not yet received any data from the vehicle and thus does not know the facts of what occurred, including whether Autopilot was engaged".

Musk said "the probability of an accident with autopilot is just less", and he insisted the vehicle had functioned exactly as it was created to in the California crash.

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The investigation into the crash in Utah is ongoing, police said. It was unknown at the time of the accident whether the driver was operating on the Autopilot feature.

Tesla Driver in Utah Crash Says Autopilot Was Engaged