Two men died after a Tesla ‘on autopilot with no one driving’ crashed into a tree in Houston before starting a huge fire that took 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish.
The fully-electric 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into the tree in Carlton Woods at around 11.25pm on Saturday night before bursting into flames with the passengers still inside.
Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said an investigation had found that ‘no one was driving’ when the accident happened, with one man sitting in the passenger seat at the front and the second sitting in the back.
Officials told KPRC2 that the $80,000 vehicle was moving at high speed when it failed to negotiate a cul-de-sac turn, ran off the road and crashed.
The fully-electric 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into the tree in Carlton Woods at around 11.25pm on Saturday night before bursting into flames with the passengers still inside
Fire fighters used 32,000 gallons of water over four hours to try to put out the flames because the car’s batteries kept reigniting.
At one point, deputies had to call Tesla to ask them how to put out a fire in the battery.
Dailymail.com has contacted Tesla for comment, as officials prepare to carry out autopsies on both men.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating 23 crashes involving Tesla cars believed to be on Autopilot.
The mode uses sensors and cameras to detect lane markets, obstacles or other vehicles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Saturday to say that vehicles with Autopilot engaged were ‘now approaching a 10 times lower chance of accident’ than the average vehicle.
But last month, the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) suggested Tesla was using customers as ‘guinea pigs’ to test its autonomous driving technology before it is officially approved.
In a letter to its sister agency, the NHTSA, NTSB called for stricter requirements for design and use automated driving systems on public roads, CNBC reported.
Tesla was named 16 times in the document, mainly due to the fact it released its ‘Full Self-Driving’ FSD) beta version to the public ‘with limited oversight or reporting requirements.’
Although NTSB criticized the firm for its lack of safeguarding, the agency also slammed the NHTSA for its ‘hands-off approach’ to monitor such testing on public roads.