Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light

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A Tesla car which can be driven autonomously has crashed into a fire department truck stopped at a red light.

The Model S rear-ended the mechanics truck in Utah in the western US at 60mph, apparently without braking before impact

Police said they do not know if the autopilot feature was engaged.

The driver broke their right ankle and the crash on Friday night is under investigation, police in South Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City said.

Police are finding out if the car was on autopilot. Pic: South Jordan Police Department Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light skynews tesla utah south jordan 4308436
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Police are finding out if the car was on autopilot. Pic: South Jordan Police Department

The crash will be unwelcome news for Tesla owner Elon Musk as federal safety agencies are in the middle of investigating the performance of Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system after two fatal crashes of Teslas on autopilot this year.

During a conference call about the California-based company’s record net quarter one loss last week Mr Musk accused journalists of being “irresponsible” for writing about the dangers of autonomous vehicles.

He claimed that “people might actually turn it off and then die” because of the stories about the fatal crashes.

The fire truck was stopped at a red light when the Tesla drove into it at 60mph. Pic: South Jordan Police Department Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light skynews tesla utah south jordan 4308438
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The fire truck was stopped at a red light when the Tesla drove into it at 60mph. Pic: South Jordan Police Department
The Tesla's bonnet was entirely crushed. Pic: South Jordan Police Department Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light skynews tesla utah south jordan 4308435
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The Tesla’s bonnet was entirely crushed. Pic: South Jordan Police Department

South Jordan police said there was no indication the Tesla’s driver on Saturday was under the influence of any substance.

There was light rain falling and roads were wet when the crash occurred, police said in a statement.

“Witnesses indicated the Tesla Model S did not brake prior to impact,” the statement said.

Tesla’s autopilot system uses cameras, radar and computers to maintain speed, change lanes and stop.

Drivers are warned the system still requires them to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel to avoid accidents.

The driver suffered a broken ankle. Pic: South Jordan Police Department Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light skynews south jordan tesla 4308434
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The driver suffered a broken ankle. Pic: South Jordan Police Department

Police said they had been in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board about the crash, however the agency’s spokesman did not know if they would get involved with the crash.

Tesla’s first quarter results, released last week, showed the company made a record $710m (£523m) net loss and tore through $745.4m (£549m) in cash in the first quarter of the financial year.

South African Mr Musk has revealed he “sleeps at the factory” in Palo Alto, California in an attempt to honour his promise to produce 5,000 Model 3 electric cars a week.

The Tesla Model S crashed into a fire department mechanics truck. Pic: South Jordan Police Department Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light Tesla with autopilot crashes into truck at red light skynews tesla utah south jordan 4308433
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The Tesla Model S crashed into a fire department mechanics truck. Pic: South Jordan Police Department

Currently only about 2,000 of the more reasonably priced cars are being produced each week, despite more than half a million people having made paid reservations for the car.

The Model 3 starts at $35,000 (£25,700) but with options can easily cost more than $50,000 (£36,800).

Mr Musk is facing pressure from investors and buyers but last week dismissed his losses, saying he was “quite confident” about hitting positive cash flow in quarter three – but it is not a certainty.



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