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Second Tesla involved in a collision while on autopilot

A 2016 Tesla Model X has crashed while its autopilot mode was activated. The car swerved, hitting wooden rails on the side of the "undivided mountain road" in Cardwell, Montana.

A 2016 Tesla Model X has crashed while its autopilot mode was activated. The car swerved, hitting wooden rails on the side of an “undivided mountain road” in Cardwell, Montana.

The crash is the second incident involving a Tesla in recent weeks. Unlike the recent one, however, neither the driver nor his passenger were injured in the accident. The driver told a police officer after the crash that the car had given verbal warnings.

The driver stated that the alerts had been given in English, but he understood only Mandarin.

Tesla suggested in a statement that the autopilot feature was being used inappropriately:

“This vehicle was being driven along an undivided mountain road shortly after midnight with Autosteer enabled. The data suggests that 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 – even a very small amount of force, such as one hand resting on the wheel, will be detected.

“This is contrary to the terms of use that are agreed to when enabling the feature and the notification presented in the instrument cluster each time it is activated.

“As road conditions became increasingly uncertain, the vehicle again alerted the driver to put his hands on the wheel. He did not do so, and shortly thereafter the vehicle collided with a post on the edge of the roadway. Autosteer… is best suited for highways with a centre divider.

“We specifically advise against its use at high speeds on undivided roads.”

The Securities and Exchange Committee is investigating Tesla following a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S failing to apply the brakes before the car hit a tractor-trailer on May 7. On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a set of questions for Tesla about the autopilot feature, particularly about the emergency braking function.

CNET tweeted an image supposedly showing the aftermath of the crash:

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