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A Driverless Tesla Crashed and Burned for 4 Hours, Killing 2 Passengers in Texas


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The remains of a Tesla vehicle after it burned for four hours.

Authorities in Texas say two people were killed when a Tesla vehicle with no one in the drivers seat crashed into a tree and burst into flames just before midnight on Saturday.

Credit: KPRC2 Houston

Just before midnight Saturday, a Tesla drove swiftly around a curve, veered off the road, struck a tree and burst into flames in The Woodlands, Tex., a suburb north of Houston, police said.

It took four hours for fire officials to put out the flames. Inside the 2019 Model S, police said, they found two passengers dead — and discovered that neither was driving the Tesla at the time of the crash.

"Our investigation has determined that one of the victims was in the front passenger seat; one was in the back seat," Mark Herman, a constable for Harris County Precinct 4, told KHOU, adding police were "100 percent certain that no one was in the driver's seat."

Tesla has pushed ahead with technology it terms self-driving, increasing the driver assistance capabilities in some of its cars last fall despite criticism from some safety regulators who questioned whether the technology had been sufficiently tested. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet Monday that data recovered "so far" indicated the car's Autopilot function was not enabled, and the owner did not purchase the most advanced driver assistance suite that Tesla calls "Full Self-Driving."

From The Washington Post
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