Tesla's Elon Musk blasts Texas deadly crash 'autopilot' reporting
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Monday took The Wall Street Journal to task for what he deemed inadequate reporting on a deadly crash involving what authorities believe was a driverless Tesla vehicle near Houston.
Musk, 49, was responding to a Twitter user who said that Tesla’s safety features would have prevented Saturday night’s crash that killed two people, as reported on by The Journal.
"There are safety measures in place," the Twitter user, Ahmad A Dalhat wrote. "Autopilot seat is weighted to make sure there is a driver, hands must be on the steering wheel every 10 seconds or it disengages. Autopilot doesn’t go over the speed limits … Research pls."
Musk said the Twitter user’s research "as a private individual" was better than the "professionals" at The Journal.
"Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase (Full Self-Driving Capability)," Musk tweeted. "Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have."
Back in 2016, Musk got testy with reporters during a conference call in which he accused journalists of "killing people" with their negative coverage of crashes that involved Tesla cars that were in autopilot mode.
"You need to think carefully about this," Musk said. "Because if, in writing some article that's negative, you effectively dissuade people from using an autonomous vehicle, you're killing people."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday they will send investigators to Spring, Texas, to look into the deadly crash on Saturday.
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Investigators are "100% sure" that no one was driving the Tesla that missed a curve on a residential road, hit a tree and burst into flames, Harris County Precinct Four Constable Mark Herman said.
But they're still trying to determine whether the electric car was operating on Tesla's Autopilot driver-assist system, or if the company's "Full Self-Driving Capability" system was in use.