Tesla on autopilot attacks tree
Two men perished inside a Tesla Model S that was zooming along a Texas roadway with no one behind the wheel — when the car crashed into a tree and sparked a massive fire.
The smash-up happened around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night in The Woodlands, a neighborhood in Houston, with the blaze continuing for four hours.
One of the men was found in the front passenger seat while the other was in the back seat, Harris County Constable Mark Herman told KHOU 11. The pricey automobile has an “autopilot” function, though it wasn’t immediately clear if it was in operation.
“With the physical evidence and the things of that nature on the scene, that night the position of the bodies the trajectory of the impact, they are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive,” Herman said, according to the outlet.
“And again, the height from the back seat to the front seat, that would be almost impossible, but again our investigators are trained to handle collisions. Several of our folks are reconstructionist, but they feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”
Officials only confirmed that one of the victims was 59 years old and the other was 69, the outlet reported.
Police said the fast-moving, fully electric Tesla was in a cul-de-sac when it failed to navigate a turn and sped into nearby woods — striking a tree, with the collision igniting the car’s batteries, reports said.
The Tesla was driverless when it failed to navigate a turn and sped into the nearby woods.
The 2019 vehicle owner’s brother-in-law said his relative had taken the car out with a spin with a friend when it lost control and crashed — with relatives watching in anguish as the flames burned for our outside the home, according to local TV network KPRC.
Firefighters pumped more than 30,000 gallons of water onto the flames before they were put out, USA Today said in a report.
When the fire was finally doused, authorities said they found the bodies inside.
Images of the aftermath show just a skeleton of the vehicle still left.
Tesla advises that motorists using its “advanced driver-assistance system” should still be prepared to take the wheel.
“Autopilot and full self-driving capability are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment,” Tesla says on its website.