Elon Musk Denies That Autopilot Caused the Fatal Tesla Model S Crash In Texas

Elon Musk recently took to Twitter to dispel rumors that a recent fatal Tesla Model S crash involved the brand’s Autopilot system. This Tesla crash occurred last weekend as a Model S smashed into a tree, only to catch fire. Inside were two men sitting in the front passenger and rear seats. As a result, no one was sitting in the driver’s seat when the car impacted the tree.

According to Car and Driver, initial reports claimed that the car’s Autopilot feature might’ve been activated at the tie of the crash. However, as the company’s CEO points out, this is highly unlikely for a few reasons. Regardless, local authorities have launched a full investigation into the car’s data.

How did this Tesla Model S crash?

As of writing, there is still plenty we don’t know about this Tesla Model S crash. However, KHOU11 reports that the incident took place sometime last Saturday evening. Once the EV struck the tree, it immediately went up in flames. However, the fire itself reportedly raged on for hours due to the batteries underneath the car’s floor.

In total, it took the local fire department four hours and 30,000 gallons of water to put the fire out, says KHOU11. At this point, authorities reportedly recovered the bodies of the two men sitting inside. However, where the two men sat immediately raised questions. That’s because one was in the passenger seat, and the other sat in the rear seat.

They are 100-percent certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact,”

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman via KHOU11

Given these findings, initial reports immediately blamed this Tesla crash on the use of Autopilot. Despite its massive shortcomings, a few stats might distance Autopilot from this crash.

Elon Musk states Autopilot was not involved

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In the tweet embedded above, Elon Musk highlights some key stats in an attempt to separate Autopilot from this particular crash. The main point is that the car involved in the crash did not feature the brand’s “Full Self Driving” system. As a result, it would not have been able to steer itself on normal city streets.

Secondly, had Autopilot been engaged, it would’ve immediately stopped once the driver got up from their seat because the seat can sense weight. Lastly, the system requires driver input every 10 seconds or so. If the driver were missing, the system would’ve disengaged.

As you might expect, the driver might not have been well-versed in the ins and outs of Autopilot. This crash might end up being the result of a poorly executed stunt by the driver.

Is the Tesla Model S safe?

A royal-blue metallic Tesla Model S traveling on a multi-lane highway with snow-covered mountains and a blue sky in the background
Tesla Model S | Tesla

This latest Tesla Model S crash understandably raises some concerns amongst consumers. However, the EV is still plenty safe when operated correctly. According to Autoblog, the NHTSA gave the Model S a five-star crash safety rating for the 2019 model year involved in the crash.

Given this rating, this latest investigation will eventually shed light on exactly what happened and how such a safe vehicle managed to get destroyed with no one in the driver’s seat.