Tesla Texas fatal crash report says Autopilot system partially malfunctioned

A Tesla Model S electric car burns after hitting a tree and exploding in Houston.

A Tesla Model S electric car in Houston, Texas, USA, crashed into a tree last month and exploded, killing its two passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a preliminary investigation report on Monday (10) that the electric car’s autopilot system was partially malfunctioning.

The report said the 59-year-old driver was in the driver’s seat before the crash, and another 69-year-old passenger was in the passenger seat. The electric car left its berth and drove 167 meters down the street before the collision occurred. The NTSB investigators tested the system with another electric car on the road and found that only the traffic-aware cruise control could be turned on, while the automatic steering could not be turned on.

The NTSB said it will continue to investigate the accident with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Tesla, and plans to issue safety recommendations to prevent similar accidents. Police initially said no one was in the driver’s seat at the time of the accident, while Tesla founder and CEO Musk stressed that the autopilot system was not activated at the time of the accident.