Tesla’s autopilot is repeatedly criticized for the fact that the name suggests more than the assistance system can do, plus grandiose promises from Elon Musk. Now there was a tragic accident in Texas in which anything could have played a role.
Over the weekend, two people died in a car accident in Spring, Texas near Houston. That would not be unusual in itself, but in this case, there are several points that are anything but commonplace. On the one hand, the vehicle was a Tesla and the emergency services had great difficulty extinguishing the fire. The fire brigade had to spray more than 110,000 litres of water on the vehicle for four hours because the battery kept catching fire.
Nobody In Driver’s Seat
On the other hand – and this is what is really remarkable – the cause of the accident is more than unusual. Because the authorities said that the investigators were “100 percent sure”, “that at the time of the impact nobody was sitting in the driver’s seat and driving the vehicle”.
In addition, according to a report by the local television station KPRC 2 and The Verge, the vehicle was travelling at extremely excessive speed, deviated from the road in a curve and crashed into a tree. The victims are two men. One was in the passenger seat, the other in the back seat.
It is currently not clear whether the autopilot was actually switched on and one can only speculate about the cause of the accident. In view of the unusual circumstances, one can certainly assume that someone wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of the autopilot in a particularly “brave” (read: negligent) way. There is no other explanation for the fact that the driver’s seat has remained empty.
Apparently, the accident happened not far from the Tesla owner’s house. His brother-in-law reported that after reversing out of the driveway, the driver may have got out and taken the back seat. The accident happened a few hundred meters later.
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