Man blames Tesla Autopilot feature for Minnesota crash

Ivan Schwartz
July 17, 2017

Tesla said it's investigating and will cooperate with local authorities. If you're not familiar with Tesla Autopilot, it's Tesla's autonomous driving feature that is created to assist the driver of the vehicle.

Deputies arrived at the scene to find to find the Tesla on its roof. In this Minnesota case, officials claim that the Autopilot feature on the Tesla driven by 58-year-old David Clark accelerated suddenly causing the Tesla to rollover. Clark and the four passengers suffered minor injuries.

"We have not yet established whether the vehicle's Autopilot feature was activated, and have no reason to believe that Autopilot, which has been found by (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to reduce accident rates by 40%, worked other than as designed", the company said.

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The autopilot feature uses cameras, radar and computers to detect objects and automatically brake if the vehicle is about to hit something. The system also makes frequent checks to ensure that the driver's hands remain on the wheel and provides visual and audible alerts if hands-on is not detected. If they ignore three separate warnings to put their hands on the wheel, the system will turn off.

Federal investigators reviewed a May 2016 crash near Gainesville, Florida, in which a Tesla driver using the autopilot feature was killed in a collision with a semi. In that case, a Tesla Model S hit a tractor-trailer. It also said Tesla's manuals and instructions make clear that human drivers are responsible for driving the auto.

Tesla shares were down about 2 percent to $321.13 in afternoon trading.

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