What Happened: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a preliminary report that the 2019 Tesla Model S involved in the crash was equipped with “Autopilot” – Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system. Using Autopilot requires both Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer systems to be engaged.
The NTSB said its tests of an exemplar car at the crash location showed that Traffic Aware Cruise Control could be engaged but that Autosteer was “not available” on that part of the road.
Traffic-Aware Cruise Control matches a car’s speed to that of surrounding traffic, while Autosteer assists in steering within a clearly marked lane.
The NTSB also said footage from the owner’s home security cameras showed the owner entering the driver’s seat and the passenger entering the front passenger seat before heading down the road.
All aspects of the crash remain under investigation to determine the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes, the agency added.
Why It Matters: Tesla has been drawing increasing attention to its vehicle safety. The Texas crash is the 28th Tesla accident to be investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, with four pending, according to Reuters.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had earlier said that data logs recovered showed the car’s Autopilot driver assistance system was not enabled and the car had not purchased Tesla's full self-driving (FSD) software.
The Palo Alto-based company says its current Autopilot features “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
Price Action: Tesla shares closed 6.4% lower in Monday’s regular trading session at $629.04 and further declined 1.4% in the after-hours session to $620.11.
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