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Tesla Model X Crashes on Pennsylvania Turnpike, Owner Says It Was on Autopilot

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/7/2016 Stefan Ogbac
2016 Tesla Model X P90D front three quarter doors open© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Tesla Model X P90D front three quarter doors open

A new report of a Tesla vehicle crashing while in Autopilot has emerged, and the Pennsylvania State Police is now investigating the incident, according to the Detroit Free Press. The vehicle, a Tesla Model X, was traveling east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, hit a guard rail on the right side, crossed over the eastbound lanes, hit a concrete median, and rolled over on its roof before coming to a stop. The vehicle's owner, Albert Scaglione, owner of Park West Gallery in Southfield, Penn., and his son-in-law Tim Yanke, survived the accident.

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According to Pennsylvania State Police officer Dale Vukovich, who came to the scene of the accident, Scaglione had told him that he activated Autopilot before the accident. He also said he may give Scaglione a citation once the investigation is finished, but didn't say what the charge will be. There is currently not enough evidence that the Model X's Autopilot feature malfunctioned and caused the accident.

This incident comes after reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating an accident involving a Model S that hit a tractor trailer while in Autopilot mode. That incident was the first known fatal crash involving Autopilot. NHTSA says that the Autopilot system and the driver failed to see the tractor-trailer that was turning left in front of the Model S. The driver of the tractor-trailer also mentioned that a video was playing when the Tesla came to a rest a quarter mile from where the crash happened.

Before Autopilot is engaged, drivers must acknowledge that the system doesn't make vehicles fully autonomous and that it still requires the driver to pay attention at all times and be responsible for their car while using the system. NHTSA will set safety rules for autonomous vehicles later this month, including guidelines for autonomous vehicle research. The Detroit Free Press noted that the fatal crash also highlighted the fact that features such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control could make vehicle occupants take their attention away from driving the vehicle.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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