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Tesla Model X repeats Autopilot error at fatal crash site

by Justin King

Autopilot appears to become confused by road lines as it swerves into alignment with the highway divider.

A Tesla Model X owner appears to have captured an Autopilot error at the site of the recent fatal accident in California.

The company last week confirmed that Autopilot had been engaged when the Model X struck a divider between Highway 101 and Highway 85.

A video shot by San Jose State University mechanical engineering professor Fred Barez shows his Model X experiencing Autopilot confusion at the same spot, improperly steering the vehicle into the median and toward the highway divider.

"The car definitely started swerving left without giving me any early warnings, right into that divider," he said.

Tesla claims the victim in the fatal accident had ignored hands-on warnings earlier in the drive and his hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision.

"The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken," Tesla added.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash. The agency will presumably look into all contributing factors including the condition of the road markings, Autopilot warning messages and driver actions.

In the first fatal Autopilot accident, the NTSB and NHTSA appeared to conclude that the driver erred in ignoring Tesla's warning to keep hands on the wheel and pay attention. Responding to concerns about warning messages, Tesla implemented a few changes to its Autopilot system to discourage drivers from completely ignoring hands-on alerts.