Consumer groups claim Tesla's Autopilot feature is 'misleading' and 'deceptive'

Lloyd Doyle
May 26, 2018

Investigators now believe the Tesla sped up for just over three seconds before hitting the stationary firetruck, according to The Associated Press, which obtained the internal police document on Thursday.

It is thought the vehicle then automatically sped up to its preset of 60 miles per hour (97 kph) without noticing the stopped cars ahead of it.

The 29-year-old driver, Heather Lommatzsch, was charged with a misdemeanor traffic citation after police say vehicle data shows she didn't touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash.

Police understand the Tesla was initially travelling at 55 miles per hour (89 kph) to match the speed of another vehicle that may have changed lane, according to a report seen by Associated Press.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The driver of the firetruck told police he had injuries consistent with whiplash but did not go to a hospital. However, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the technology verifies that driver is paying attention or not along with his hands on the wheel.

Gary Gastelu is's Automotive Editor. Earlier, the Tesla Model X was crashed on Highway 101 of Mountain View in March, the driver also warned by the Autopilot of the auto to put his hands on the wheel.

A semi-autonomous Tesla vehicle involved in a headline-making crash in Utah this month increased in speed by nearly 10 kph just seconds before it smashed into a firetruck stopped at a red light. The most recent crash, in March, is being investigated by safety regulators.

Tesla reached a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit alleging that it sold Autopilot features that weren't available and made its vehicles risky, according to court records released Thursday by the U.S. District Court in San Jose.

Tesla's autopilot technology continues to be controversial, with the company saying the software program will reduce auto accidents by 40 percent.

Members who had already contributed a certain amount of $5,000 to get the enhanced Autopilot upgrade between 2016 and 2017 will receive compensation between $20 and $280. In that incident, the driver, Walter Huang, was killed when his Model X crashed into a barrier between Highway 101 and Highway 85, in Mountain View.

This week, Tesla said Autopilot was not engaged when a Model S veered off a road and plunged into a pond outside San Francisco, killing the driver. However, the agency said that the regulators have not yet assessed its effectiveness.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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