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Tesla under scrutiny after second autopilot crash

Tesla?said the data suggested 'the driver's hands were not on the steering wheel, as no force was detected on the steering wheel for over two minutes after autosteer was engaged.' Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters California, United States Jul 14, 2016, 04.36 AM (IST)

Tesla Motors Inc said on Tuesday that its autosteer software was enabled during a crash involving a Model X in Montana at the weekend, according to a spokesperson for the California car maker.

In the Montana crash, which took place on Sunday, the driver said Autopilot was engaged when the car slammed into 13 guardrails, according to Montana State Troopers. The driver was issued an $85 ticket for careless driving.

Tesla said the data suggested "the driver's hands were not on the steering wheel, as no force was detected on the steering wheel for over two minutes after autosteer was engaged".

Tesla said the driver was using the feature on an undivided mountain road, which the company advises against, and didn't respond to alerts to put his hands on the wheel.

The Montana crash came as US highway safety regulators demanded that Tesla hand over detailed information about the design, operation and testing of its Autopilot technology following a May 7 fatal crash in which the system was in use.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), investigating an accident that has increased scrutiny of automated driving technology, also wants to know what Tesla investigators have learned about the crash.

Joshua Brown was killed when his vehicle, operating on Autopilot in Florida, drove under a tractor trailer. It was the first known fatality to involve a Model S operating on the Autopilot system that takes control of steering and braking in certain conditions.

(Reuters)

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