Tesla: Elon Musk suggests Autopilot not to blame for fatal crash

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The remains of a Tesla vehicle are seen after it crashed in The Woodlands, TexasImage source, Scott J Engle/Reuters

Two men were killed after a Tesla car crashed into a tree and caught fire in Texas, and police believe there was nobody present in the driver's seat at the time of the accident.

The 2019 Tesla Model S was travelling at a high speed when it failed to negotiate a curve on a winding road.

The victims, both in their 50s, were found in the front passenger seat and in the back of the vehicle.

Tesla's chief said data recovered so far showed Autopilot was not enabled.

Mark Herman, Harris County Precinct 4 constable said that “no-one was driving the vehicle at the time of impact”, adding that the case was still under investigation.

However, the car-maker's chief executive, Elon Musk, tweeted: "Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled... moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have."

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Tesla's Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that Tesla says "enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel".

Image source, Scott J Engle/Reuters

Self-driving cars

Mr Musk has previously laid out his vision for “fully self-driving” cars to be made available this year.

But last month, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened investigations into 27 crashes involving Tesla vehicles.

In a related incident this Monday, a Tesla owner climbed on top of a car at the Shanghai Auto Show to protest that the "brake lost control", Bloomberg reported.

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A series of fires have also taken place involving the Model S.

In 2018, a Tesla car driven by British TV director Michael Morris burst into flames, following another such incident involving a Model S model in France in 2016.

Several fires related to Tesla Model S cars took place in 2013.