The Tesla driver, killed in a recent accident in California, praised the car manufacturer’s “completely self-driving” features and posted videos on his seemingly TikTok account in which he seemed to be getting his hands off the wheel.
On May 5, a Tesla Model 3 collided with a truck that collapsed on the Fontana highway and killed a Tesla driver and injured the truck driver as well as the car stopped to help him.
The Associated Press said police said after a preliminary investigation that Tesla’s driver assistance system, Autopilot, was operational before the crash.
But in a correction released late Friday, police said: “There is no final decision on Tesla’s driving space.”
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Two videos of a man riding his hands off a bike were sent to an alleged TikTok account of the victim, 35-year-old Steven Hendrickson of Running Springs, California.
“What would I do without a full self-driving Teslan after a long day at work,” said a message to one. “Returning home from LA after work, thank God, drive yourself,” said another video commenter, adding, “The best car ever!”
Tesla called the features of its driver’s assistant “Autopilot” or “Perfect Self-Driving,” which experts say could mislead consumers into believing that a car can drive on its own.
Tesla said on its website that its Autopilot feature does not make the car independent.
Hendrickson shot a video on his Facebook account while driving on autopilot, saying, “Don’t worry. I’m on autopilot.”
Family members were not commentable, and Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations team, was not immediately commentable.
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Tesla Club-SoCal, a group of Tesla owners in Southern California, said on social media that he was an active member who “loved Tesla.” The wife and two children will survive him, it added.
The Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated more than two dozen Tesla vehicle collisions, including a Fontana accident and a high-profile in Texas last month that killed two men.
Since 2016, at least three Tesla vehicles operating on Autopilot have been involved in fatal accidents, two of which have involved a Tesla car driving under a semi-truck in Florida.
According to the U.S. Transportation Safety Commission, Tesla’s autopilot system did not properly identify the truck when it crossed the car’s path, contributing to accidents that also result from a lack of driver attention and an adequate driver oversight system.
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