Authorities reported that two people were killed Saturday night in a Tesla car accident that was driving without anyone behind the wheel in Harris County (Texas, USA).
One of the dead was in the passenger seat, the other in the back seat, and authorities asserted on Sunday that they had a “99.9%” certainty that “no one was driving at the time of the collision.”
A Tesla collided with a tree on a high-speed bend in Harris County, north of Houston, and it took the firefighters four hours to extinguish the flames.
Investigators are trying to determine if “airbags” were deployed and whether the vehicle activated assistive driving, an intelligent assistance system that Tesla markets as “autopilot” or “autopilot.”
Tesla requires its drivers to be aware of driving at all times to control the vehicle and invites them to activate the Intelligent Assistance System, as it is safer than driving without it.
The accident occurs when Tesla begins testing with some of its drivers a “fully autonomous” system, although it also requires the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Some experts have criticized the company for using terms like “autopilot” and for imparting a false sense of autonomy on the part of the car.
The United States Highway Safety Agency (NHTSA) is studying the possibility of enforcing regulations to ensure drivers’ attention behind the wheel, as new driving mechanisms are implemented in the auto industry.
The NHTSA is investigating more than two dozen Tesla electric vehicle crashes while using the driving assistance system.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended the safety record of his electric cars and confirmed this week that driving assistance offers 10 times less chance of an accident.