Back in May, a Tesla Model S was involved in the a fatal crash claiming the life of its owner. It was the first fatality that occurred while Autopilot was engaged.
Now the incident is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States to determine whether the Autopilot worked as it is expected to work.
According to the firm, its Autopilot system failed to detect a tractor trailer crossing a highway. The combination of a bright sky and a white trailer meant that neither the driver, nor the Autopilot system saw the vehicle.
No brakes were applied, and the Model S continued on its path. The resulting crash saw the bottom of the trailer colliding with the windshield of the Model S.
This is the first fatality in a total of 130 million miles driven with the Autopilot feature activated.
Share prices open down, but recovery is underway
News of the investigation saw Tesla Motor shares shares open down. Tesla share prices closed at $212.28, after the markets closed yesterday. The firm’s share prices opened today on the NYSE at $205.50.
The share price has recovered slightly since markets in the US opened a few moments ago. Tesla shares are currently trading at $207.76 and are rising in value at time of writing.
Tesla ships the Model S with the Autopilot feature switched off by default. Engaging the autonomous system prompts drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Drivers are also warned to be ready to take back control of the vehicle at any moment.
“He was a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community,” Tesla said of the driver in a statement. “A person who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission.”[Source – Tesla]