US regulators open probe into Tesla crash in Utah

San Francisco, May 17 (IANS) US safety regulators have launched investigation into a crash in Utah that occurred when a Tesla Model S plowed into a fire department vehicle while it was on “autopilot” mode, the media reported.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration sent a team of special crash investigators to investigate the May 11 crash, the Fortune reported on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old female driver of the Tesla vehicle admitting she was looking at her phone prior to the collision, according to the police.

Data from the vehicle showed that the driver repeatedly cancelled and then re-engaged features of the semi-autnonomous driving system “autopilot”, according to Tesla technicians.

“When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times,” a Tesla spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

The driver had turned on the “autosteer” and “cruise control” features about 80 seconds prior to the crash and taken her hands off the wheel, Tesla officials were quoted as saying to police on Wednesday by the Guardian.

But despite several high-profile autopilot crashes, including a fatal collision in California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has insisted that his technology is safer than traditional cars, the report added.

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