Tesla Model X crashes and rolls; was Autopilot mode on?

Tesla Model X
A second Tesla has allegedly crashed in Autopilot mode, though there were no fatalities this time.

The accident took place about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The police report notes that a Model X was traveling east with two passengers on board when it crashed into a guard rail on the right side of the road. The force of the impact caused it to collide with the concrete median, and sent it across the eastbound lanes. It then rolled, and came to a stop on its roof in the middle of the road.

Luckily, the two passengers walked away without major injuries. The driver, Albert Scaglione, told the police officers who arrived at the scene of the accident that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.


Dale Vukovich, a Pennsylvania State Police officer, said that Scaglione will likely be cited, though he declined to reveal what for. He also stressed that it’s too early in the investigation to blame the accident on Tesla’s Autopilot software, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The news comes just a few days after the NHTSA opened an investigation into Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system following a fatal accident in Florida. A 40-year-old man died when his Model S, traveling in Autopilot mode, drove under a semi truck trailer. The NHTSA is evaluating whether Autopilot should have prevented the accident, and whether Tesla needs to modify or recall the software.

It’s interesting to note that the automaker presented the Model X crossover as “the safest SUV ever made,” and boasted that it was virtually impossible to roll it during internal tests. The Model S earned a five-star safety rating, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t tested the Model X yet.

Updated 7/7/2016 by Ronan Glon: Tesla told Digital Trends that it’s aware of the crash, but it doesn’t know whether or not the Model X was in Autopilot mode when it hit a guardrail because it hasn’t received the vehicle logs yet.  Company representatives have tried to call the owner of the wrecked crossover three times to find out more about what happened but they’ve been unable to reach him.

The NHTSA has opened a investigation into the accident in order to shed light on what role — if any — the Autopilot software played.

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