Texas police will serve search warrants on Tesla Inc on Tuesday to secure data from a fatal vehicle crash, a senior official told Reuters on Monday, after chief executive Elon Musk said company checks showed that the car’s automatic driver assistance system was not activated.
Mark Herman, of Harris County Constable’s District 4, said evidence including witness statements made it clear that there was no one in the driver’s seat of the Model S when it was seated. crashed into a tree, killing two people on Saturday night.
Herman said that a tweet from Musk on Monday afternoon claiming that the data logs the company has collected so far excluded the use of the autopilot system, were the company’s primary officials.
“If he’s tweeting that, if he’s already recovered the data, he hasn’t told us,” Herman told Reuters. “We will look forward to this data.”
The crash is Telsa’s 28th accident to be investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which regulates vehicle safety.
He is also being probed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which excluded Tesla from participating in an earlier investigation into a fatal crash in 2018 after the company released details of the probe without permission.
In Saturday’s crash, the 2019 Tesla Model S was traveling at high speed near Houston when it failed to negotiate a bend and rolled off the road, crashed into a tree and caught fire, Herman said.
Authorities found the bodies of two men in the car, one in the front passenger seat and the owner of the car in the back seat.
âWe have witness statements from people who said they left to test drive the driverless vehicle and to show the friend how he can behave,â Herman said.
Tesla’s autopilot is a driver assistance system that handles certain driving tasks and allows drivers to sometimes take their hands off the wheel, but Tesla says its features “require active driver supervision and do not turn the vehicle over. autonomous â.
In his tweet, Musk dismissed the idea that the vehicle’s semi-automated driving software was to blame: âData logs recovered so far show that the autopilot was not on and this car was not on. did not buy FSD, âin a reference to full autonomous driving, Tesla. separate beta semi-automated driver assistance system that still requires driver supervision
Musk added that “the standard autopilot would require the lane lines to light up, which this street did not have,” referring to the road markers that must be captured by a vehicle’s cameras to activate the autopilot. .
NHTSA told Reuters last month it had opened 27 special crash investigations into Tesla vehicles, 23 of which remain active, in crashes believed to have been linked to the use of autopilot.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. Its shares closed 3.4% lower on Monday before climbing 1.5% after hours after Musk’s tweet.
The NTSB, which makes safety recommendations but cannot force recalls, said its investigation into the Texas crash would focus “on the operation of the vehicle and the fire after the crash.”
Fire officials said it took four hours to fully extinguish the fire because of the car’s lithium-ion battery.