Just a few days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to deliver a more robust and safer version of the company’s Autopilot software, a new report claims that the fatal Model S accident in Florida earlier this year may not have been the first Autopilot-based fatality.
According to a report out of China (originally spotted by Electrek), a Model S driver from Hong Kong may have been killed in an Autopilot-related incident this past January. In a harrowing crash that was captured via the driver’s dashcam, we see a Model S driving at a high-speed crash right into a parked street sweeper on the side of the road.
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Video of the crash can be seen below at around the 4:15 mark.
The crash and resulting video is reminiscent of a previous incident, also from China, where a Model S in Autopilot mode crashed into a car that was parked on the shoulder of a highway. Video of that crash — which was non-fatal — can be seen below.
When reached for comment about the January crash, Tesla said that it was unable to access the car’s logs and therefore can’t determine if Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.
We were saddened to learn of the death of our customer’s son. We take any incident with our vehicles very seriously and immediately reached out to our customer when we learned of the crash. Because of the damage caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers and we therefore have no way of knowing whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash. We have tried repeatedly to work with our customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but he has not provided us with any additional information that would allow us to do so.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk over the weekend touted the benefits of the company’s forthcoming Autopilot 8.0 software update which will rely more heavily on radar technology in order to detect objects and obstacles on the road. Notably, Musk went so far as to say that the upcoming Autopilot update could have potentially prevented the highly publicized crash in Florida where a Model S crashed into an 18-wheeler.