Tesla’s Autopilot feature might be a bigger problem than the company realizes. A Detroit art gallery owner informed police that he had his 2016 Tesla Model X in Autopilot mode when it crashed and rolled over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last Friday, as reported by the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday morning.
Although the Model X driver, Albert Scaglione, and his son-in-law, Tim Yanke, both survived Friday’s crash, which occurred just over 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, the scope of scrutiny on Tesla’s Autopilot mode is likely to only grow. Thus far, Tesla released a statement to Electrek, saying that it currently has “no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident” and that “until the customer responds, we are unable to further investigate.”
According to the Free Press, a Pennsylvania State Police report from Friday’s scene noted that the Model X hit a guard rail “off the right side of the roadway” and “it then crossed over the eastbound lanes and hit the concrete median,” tumbling onto its roof in the middle eastbound lane. Scaglione reportedly told police that his Model X was in Autopilot at the time of the accident.
Last Friday’s Autopilot-related accident came just a day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into the fatal May 7 crash in Florida, in which Tesla Model S owner Joshua D. Brown had the same feature activated. On Tuesday, Tesla claimed to have informed federal regulators about the May 7 crash nine days after it occurred .
Just like the NHTSA will have to thoroughly investigate the Autopilot-related fatality in Florida, Pennsylvania State Police will have to dig deeper to confirm whether the Model X’s Autopilot feature suffered a malfunction. The reporting officer at the scene, Dale Vukovich, told the Free Press that he will likely cite Scaglione for the accident, which also involved another car, but didn’t specify the charge.
Before learning about the Model X crash, Musk offered his condolences over Brown’s death, before retweeting this:
What will he say now?