A new update on the Tesla Autopilot crash sheds new light on what happened to the two men that died in Texas on Saturday evening, as CNBC reported.
Tesla's Autopilot system was thought to be involved in the accident, as police reported that nobody was driving the 2019 Tesla Model S that went off the road, crashed into a tree, and was engulfed by fire.
However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied the result of the preliminary investigation, tweeting that data logs recovered reveals the Tesla Autopilot system was not activated.
Musk also noted that the Tesla car involved in the accident didn't buy Tesla FSD (Full Self-Driving) feature.
The tech billionaire added that the standard Tesla Autopilot system requires lane lines to turn on and the street involved in the accident doesn't have them.
Tesla's Full-Self Driving software is currently available to Tesla car buyers as a premium option for the price of $10,000 on top of the original value of the vehicle. However, Tesla cautioned drivers that FSD does not guarantee that it would work under all driving circumstances and should be used with active supervision.
Tesla Autopilot can make a mistake and might see bike lanes or sealed road cracks as another road marker.
Critics also raised concerns that Tesla's Autopilot branding makes many people believe that self-driving cars no longer require supervision, resulting in abuse and misuse by some owners.
Some YouTube videos of influencers even show people driving Tesla cars hands-free for a prolonged time or while asleep behind the steering wheel.
Police investigators insist that they are certain that the Model S in question was driverless and nobody was driving when the fatal crash happened, CNN reported.
Investigators added that one of the men was sitting in the front passenger seat, while the other was in the back seat during the accident.
Tesla Autopilot Safety
Musk previously tweeted that Tesla Autopilot--when engaged--offers a nearly 10 times lower chance of accident compared with 100 percent human-operated vehicles.
The Tesla founder referred to the data gathered by the company showing that Tesla cars with activated Autopilot were involved in just a single accident for every 4.19 miles driven during the first quarter of 2021.
He noted that the number is much lower than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data that show human-driven cars were involved in a crash for every 484,000 miles.
NHTSA, meanwhile, has created a Special Crash Investigation team to look closer into the accident. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) is also conducting its safety investigation.
Authorities added that the fire resulting from the Tesla car crash took firefighters four hours and used 32,000 gallons of water before being fully extinguished.
Electric vehicles (EVs), like the Tesla Model S, house a large battery that normally takes longer to ignite when damaged in a collision, making a fire risk lower than in the case of vehicles running on gasoline.
The NHTSA and the NTSB are in constant communication with local police as the fatal crash investigation continues.
Tesla stock (TSLA) dropped 2.5 percent before the official market trading on Monday, after the weekend crash surfaced, as per MarketWatch's report.