Tesla in Autopilot sped up before Utah crash, police report says

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

A police report of the incident says the electric Tesla Model S was on semi-autonomous Autopilot mode when it sped up from 55 miles per hour (89 kph) to 60 miles per hour (97 kph) in just 3.5 seconds before it hit the truck.

The burden now falls on the FTC to investigate "Tesla's unfair and deceptive practices so that consumers have accurate information, understand the limitations of Autopilot and operate their vehicle safely and without endangering themselves or other drivers, passengers or pedestrians on the road", the groups asserted in a news release.

The driver of the vehicle, Heather Lommatzsch, 29, told police she thought the vehicle's automatic emergency braking system would detect traffic and stop before the auto hit another vehicle. Lommatzsch reportedly told the police she believed the car's automatic emergency-braking system would have detected traffic up ahead and stopped the vehicle before the crash.

Lommatzsch did not return a voicemail message on Thursday.

Steve Berman, a lawyer for the vehicle owners, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The car's log said that her hands had been off of the steering wheel for 80 seconds leading up to the impact, and that she applied the brakes less than a second before hitting the firetruck, which was blocking the lane to protect the scene of a previous accident.

She told police she was looking at her phone comparing different routes to her destination. Online court records do not show an attorney listed for her.

The driver of the firetruck told police he had injuries consistent with whiplash but did not go to a hospital.

Among those functions is automatic emergency braking, which the company says on its website is designed "to detect objects that the auto may impact and applies the brakes accordingly". The agreement, which is yet to be approved by the San Jose federal court judge overseeing the case, would see more than $5m being set aside for a settlement fund by Tesla. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating. However, Steve Berman, the lawyer of the company has not commented yet.

A series of crashes that took place while Autopilot was active didn't help dissuade anyone of that, though Tesla has maintained that the feature has improved safety overall.

The "Enhanced Autopilot" 2.0 package on the Model S and Model X was priced at $5,000, while a further $3,000 secured the "Fully Self-Driving" package for the future autonomous updates. The company has said that it agreed to compensate customers who purchased Autopilot and had to wait longer than expected to get all of its features.

A Tesla Autopilot class action suit is one step closer to settlement, with Model S and Model X owning plaintiffs agreeing to a cash payout having complained that the second-generation of the driver assistance technology had delays in its functionality being rolled out.

Earlier in May, the NTSB opened a probe into an accident in which a Model S caught fire after crashing into a wall at a high speed in Florida. However, the agency said that the regulators have not yet assessed its effectiveness.

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