PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – A Tesla driver reportedly said his vehicle was in Autopilot when it crashed in Pennsylvania last week. The report comes as federal investigators look into another crash involving a Tesla in self-driving mode that killed a driver earlier this year.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Albert Scaglione was in the driver’s seat of his Model X SUV on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Friday when it crashed 100 miles east of Pittsburgh. Scaglione and his son-in-law, who was in the passenger’s seat, both survived.READ MORE: DEA Issues Safety Alert As San Francisco Fentanyl Seizures Soar
Officer Dale Vukovich of the Pennsylvania State Police, who responded to the crash, told the newspaper that the SUV hit a guardrail on the right side of the roadway, crossed over the eastbound lanes and hit a median, before rolling over. Debris from the crash struck a car going westbound on the turnpike, but no one in the car was hurt.
Vukovich said Scaglione told him that he had activated Autopilot before the crash. The officer said he would “likely” cite Scaglione after his investigation.
The newspaper said the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s narrow shoulders and concrete medians “leave little margin for driver error.”
Last week’s crash comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looks at a crash that killed a Model S driver in Florida in May. In that crash, authorities said the sedan was in Autopilot when it crashed into a tractor trailer crossing the highway in front of the Tesla.
The truck driver said the Tesla driver was watching a Harry Potter movie on a screen at the time of the crash.READ MORE: VIDEO: '(My) Back Is Definitely Against The Wall'; Warriors Star Andrew Wiggins Battles To Play Unvaccinated
Tesla, based in Palo Alto, released Autopilot last year. The feature allows a Tesla to automatically steer, change lanes and adjust speed due to traffic conditions.
According to the automaker, the system requires a driver to keep their hands on the wheel and that the driver will be warned if they do not.
Tesla has stressed that the driver is ultimately responsible for controlling a vehicle while in Autopilot and that the driver would be held liable in the event of a crash.
UPDATE, JULY 6, 2:01 p.m.:
Tesla released the following statement about the Pennsylvania crash to automobile news website Jalopnik:
We received an automated alert from this vehicle on July 1 indicating airbag deployment, but logs containing detailed information on the state of the vehicle controls at the time of the collision were never received. This is consistent with damage of the severity reported in the press, which can cause the antenna to fail. As we do with all crash events, we immediately reached out to the customer to confirm they were ok and offer support but were unable to reach him. We have since attempted to contact the customer three times by phone without success. Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident.MORE NEWS: 1 Dead, Suspect Sought In Daytime San Francisco Mission District Shooting