Another Tesla crash reported driving under Autopilot

The Detroit Free Press reports a Tesla Model X driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike with the Autopilot feature engaged crashed last week.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect a new statement from Tesla.

A Tesla Model X, being driven with its Autopilot feature engaged, crashed last week on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. The incident follows the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S driving under Autopilot, which spurred a review of the technology by the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA).

The driver of the Tesla Model X in the recent crash reportedly had the Autopilot feature engaged while driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the Bedford exit. The car hit a guard rail on the right side of the road, then rebounded to the median barrier, landing on its roof.

Neither the driver or a passenger were injured in the crash.

Tesla's Autopilot feature is an early implementation of advanced driver-assist technology, using radar and cameras to steer the car in its lane and automatically match speeds of slower traffic ahead. The system can also automatically change lanes when the driver hits the turn signal. Other automakers offer similar systems, with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, although none reach the levels of capability of the Tesla system.

Tesla tells drivers that Autopilot is a beta feature, making them acknowledge that aspect of the system on a screen in the car before it can be enabled. The system is also designed to warn drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.

The Detroit Free Press report notes that Dale Vukovich of the Pennsylvania State Police said he would likely cite the driver of the Model X for the crash.

There is no information at this time as to whether the Autopilot system failed or whether the driver was letting the car drive itself. Tesla cars report their telemetry to the automaker through a data connection, so more information should be forthcoming as to the cause of this crash.

Tesla said in a statement that the car transmitted a "crash event" to the company, but failed to transmit its logs, likely due to antenna damage from the crash. Without the logs, Tesla has no data as to whether Autopilot was or was not engaged at the time of the crash. The company has repeatedly tried to contact the owner, but without success.