Elon Musk says Tesla’s autopilot feature was not on in Pennsylvania crash

Tesla Model X
The Model X car is unveiled at the company’s headquarters Sept. 29 in Fremont, Calif.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk is disputing reports that a Model X’s autopilot feature was involved in a nonfatal crash in Pennsylvania this month.

Musk tweeted Thursday afternoon that the onboard vehicle logs show that the semi-autonomous driving feature was turned off in the crash.

“Moreover, crash would not have occurred if it was on,” he tweeted.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the driver of the Model X told police he was using the autopilot feature. The SUV reportedly hit a freeway guardrail and struck the center median before flipping onto its roof.


Last week, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said it was investigating whether the autopilot feature was engaged in the wreck. The news came a week after the agency said it had opened a preliminary probe into the autopilot feature, which had been used during the May 7 fatal crash of a Model S sedan in Williston, Fla. 

On Thursday, Consumer Reports called on the Palo Alto-based maker of electric cars to disable its vehicles’ automatic-steering capabilities and to stop calling the feature “autopilot,” saying that the dual messages that the car can drive itself but that drivers may need to take over control at a moment’s notice created “potential for driver confusion.” Tesla declined. 


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