Tesla shares slip after California crash

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a Tesla sedan crashed into the back of a fire truck on a California freeway while reportedly driving on Autopilot.

Culver City's fire service said a Tesla Model S vehicle had "ploughed into the rear" of one of its fire engines, while the truck was attending to another accident on a highway.

The agency will send two investigators to conduct a field probe of the crash that occurred near Culver City, California, NTSB spokesman Chris O'Neil said in an email.

The NTSB said on Twitter that investigators will focus on driver and vehicle factors.

It's likely they'll look into whether Autopilot was on and if it failed to spot the fire engine. A union representing the firefighters claimed in a tweet that the driver said his auto was in Autopilot mode.

The Tesla driver told the California Highway Patrol that he had activated Autopilot before the crash, but the highway patrol said in a news release that it was unable to verify the driver's statement at this time. The company would not comment on the investigation.

Tesla Autopilot is an increasingly capable suite of safety and convenience features that since September 2014 has come standard in all Tesla vehicles.

Tesla allegedly on autopilot smashes into bright red firetruck in California
In 2016, for instance, a Tesla driver operating in autopilot mode was killed when his Model S drove underneath a tractor-trailer. Furthermore, National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. is gathering information about the accident involving a Tesla Inc.

NHTSA also investigated the 2016 crash and concluded that there was no "defect in design or performance" of the Autopilot system.

Tesla shares slipped 2% in Wednesday´s trading session amid reports that investigators were probing a crash on a Californian motorway that could be linked to its self-driving technology. The truck was unoccupied at the time, and no injuries were claimed by anyone at the crash scene, according to the CHP.

"Tesla gave a similar response at the time of the accident: "[Autpilot] is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times... you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle while using it".

Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old OH man, was killed near Williston, Florida, when his Model S collided with a truck while it was engaged in the Autopilot mode. This allows drivers to hand over certain tasks, such as lane keeping assistance, to the vehicle's onboard computers.

Tesla has taken steps to prevent drivers from using Autopilot improperly, including measuring the amount of torque applied to the steering wheel and sending visual and audio warnings.

Tesla's Autopilot is a driver-assist system that includes lane assist and adaptive cruise control.

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