The driver of a Tesla involved in a crash in Minnesota on Saturday denied that the vehicle’s Autopilot system led to the incident, according to an email released by the automaker.
The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on Sunday that the driver of the 2016 Tesla Model S said that when he engaged the Autopilot system the vehicle suddenly accelerated and eventually rolled over. He said he and four passengers sustained minor injuries.
But the driver said in the email released on Monday that he believed he had disengaged the Autopilot system before the crash. Tesla shares fell in trading on Monday after the crash was reported.
Tesla Autopilot offers active cruise control, forward-collision warning, and Autosteer, allowing cars to drive themselves on highways. Cars produced after October 2016 come with Tesla’s second-generation Autopilot system, which allows the vehicles to automatically change lanes and merge on and off highways.
The system came under scrutiny in May 2016 after Joshua Brown, 40, died in a crash while Autopilot was activated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in January closed its six-month investigation after determining the crash wasn’t caused by a safety defect.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Tom Brown; Danielle Muoio contributed to this report)
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