Driver of Tesla Crash in Pennsylvania Says Autopilot Was On

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
July 6, 2016 Updated: July 6, 2016

Another Tesla vehicle in autopilot mode has been involved in a crash, coming a week after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating the circumstances leading to a May accident that became the first fatality caused by a self-driving vehicle.

Albert Scaglione, a Southfield art gallery owner, was driving a Tesla Model X with his son-in-law Tim Yanke in the passenger seat last week when the car crashed and rolled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Dale Vukovich of the Pennsylvania State Police, the officer responding to the crash, says Scaglione told him that the car’s autopilot feature was turned on.

In his crash report obtained by the Detroit Free Press, Vukovich stated that Scaglione’s car was traveling east when it hit a guard rail “off the right side of the roadway. It then crossed over the eastbound lanes and hit the concrete median.”

The car then rolled onto its roof and came to a stop in the middle eastbound lane. Debris from the car struck a car in the westbound lane, but no injuries were sustained.

Vukovich said that driving on the Pennyslvania Turnpike is not easy due to its narrow shoulders and concrete medians. A preliminary investigation into the crash has begun, though as of now, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that a malfunctioning in the Tesla’s autopilot function caused the accident. Vukovich told the Free Press he will likely cite Scaglione after the investigation, but did not say on what charge.

Tesla also released a statement to Electrek, saying that it currently has “no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident” and that “until the customer responds, we are unable to further investigate.”

On May 7, Joshua D. Brown of Ohio was killed in Williston, Florida, while in autopilot mode when his Tesla Model S didn’t activate its brakes and crashed into a tractor-trailer.

Last Wednesday, spurned by the accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would begin an evaluation of Tesla’s automated driving system.