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A woman driving a Tesla that crashed into the back of a fire truck in Utah had frequently taken her hands off the wheel while the car was on “Autopilot,” including at the time of the crash, Tesla told police.

“The vehicle registered more than a dozen instances of her hands being off the steering wheel in this drive cycle,” South Jordan police said in a news release, citing Tesla’s investigation report.

“On two such occasions, she had her hands off the wheel for more than one minute each time and her hands came back on only after a visual alert was provided. Each time she put her hands back on the wheel, she took them back off the wheel after a few seconds.”

When the 28-year-old woman ultimately smashed the Model S sedan into the fire truck stopped at a red light on a highway on May 11, her hands had been off the wheel for more than a minute, police said, citing Tesla.

“This is consistent with her admission that she was looking at her phone at the time,” police said.

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The driver had been using the “Autosteer” and “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” functions of Autopilot, Tesla reported to police.

She and the fire truck driver received minor injuries, police said.

The report appears to highlight a serious problem with the semi-autonomous-driving system the Palo Alto electric car maker controversially chose to call “Autopilot”: humans.

The Autopilot system includes visual and audio warnings to drivers when they remove their hands from the wheel. After a fatal Tesla Model X crash on Highway 101 in Mountain View in March, Tesla reported that the driver had been warned repeatedly …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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