The driver of the Tesla car that was killed in a recent crash in California praised the automaker’s “full self-driving” features and posted videos on his apparent dictatorial account in which he appeared to be driving with his hands off the wheel.
On May 5, a Tesla Model 3 collided with a truck that overturned on the highway in Fontana, killing the Tesla driver and injuring the truck driver and a motorist who had stopped to assist him.
The Associated Press news agency quoted police as saying that a preliminary investigation had determined that Tesla’s driver assistant system was involved in the autopilot before the crash.
But in an amendment released late Friday, police said “no final decision has been made as to which driving mode Tesla was in.”
Steven Hendrickson, 35, of Running Springs, California, has released two videos of a man driving his hands off a wheel on the victim’s dictator account.
“What would I do without my full self-driving Tesla after a long day’s work,” one message said. “Coming home from LA after work, thank God, self-driving,” said one commenter in another video, “the best car ever!”
Tesla called its driver assistant features “autopilot” or “full self-driving”, which experts say could mislead consumers into believing the car could drive automatically.
Tesla has stated on its website that the automated pilot feature will not get the vehicle autonomous.
On his Facebook account, Hendrickson was filming a video of himself driving an autopilot, saying, “Don’t worry, I’m an autopilot.”
Family members were not available for comment, and Tesla, which disbanded its public relations groups, was not immediately available for comment.
He said on social media that the Tesla Club-Sokal, a group of Tesla owners in Southern California, was “an ardent member who loved his Tesla”. He is survived by his wife and two children.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating two dozen crashes of Tesla vehicles, including a Fontana crash and a high-profile vehicle that killed two people last month in Texas.
At least three Tesla vehicles running on autopilot since 2016 have been involved in a fatal crash, two involving driving a Tesla car under half a truck in Florida.
The U.S. Transportation Safety Board said Tesla’s automated pilot system failed to accurately detect a truck’s crossing the road, and contributed to accidents caused by careless drivers and an inadequate driving surveillance system.
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