Tesla CEO Elon Musk entered the Autopilot fray with the official company word that the system was not engaged at the time of a fatal crash involving a 2019 Tesla Model S in Texas.
Musk, on Monday, tweeted: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD. Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”
The crash near Spring, Texas, killed two men, aged 59 and 69, and is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
In multiple interviews, police at the scene said nobody was behind the wheel, and that one victim was found in the front passenger seat, the other in a back seat. The men had not been identified as of Tuesday morning.
Tesla’s automated driving systems are called Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, or FSD. The carmaker also releases a “beta” version of FSD software to some customers who have the premium FSD option, a $10,000 add-on feature that allows vehicles to automatically change lanes on highways and self-park.
Musk’s tweet said this Tesla did not have that option purchased.
The company website warns drivers against operating the vehicle as a fully self-driving car, saying to use the systems only with “active supervision,” and that Tesla vehicles are not fully autonomous and drivers are advised to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
According to a CNBC story, Tesla Autopilot, now standard in Tesla vehicles, may have trouble separating sealed cracks in the road or bike lanes from other lane markers.
Mark Herman, the Harris County Precinct 4 constable, said authorities would serve search warrants on Tesla on Tuesday to obtain and secure data from the vehicle.