Tesla officials are disputing numerous assertions of local police related to a recent deadly crash in the Spring area, reiterating statements by founder Elon Musk that autopilot was not engaged on the vehicle.
Further, company officials contradicted officials in Houston, saying the car did not have a driver during the crash.
“The steering wheel was indeed deformed, leading to the likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash,” said Lars Moravy, vice president of vehicle engineering for Tesla.
The comments, the company’s first statements on the incident aside from Musk’s tweets, came during a Monday evening conference call related to the company’s first quarter financial performance.
The crash, which has drawn national attention because it involved a Tesla, is under investigation by Harris County Precinct 4 as well as the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Moravy said a review of the car’s data and the conditions on the street – which lacked painted lines – make use of autopilot impossible.
Further, he said the vehicle’s cruise control only accelerated to 30 mph because of the street’s speed limit as set in Tesla’s traffic computers, and that when the driver unbuckled it slowed.
All of the seat belts in the car were unbuckled at the time of the crash, Moravy said.
Reached Monday evening, Herman said local police were aware of Tesla’s claims but would not comment on them.
“Our case is still under investigation,” he said.
See here for the background. I mean, maybe Tesla is correct, but given their overall track record with the NTSB and the clear demonstrations of how to fool the autopilot system into thinking there’s someone in the driver’s seat, I’m not inclined to take their word for it. Let’s have a full investigation and see where that takes us. The Washington Post has more.