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Tesla logs show that Model X driver hit the accelerator, Autopilot didn’t crash into building on its own

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Earlier this morning, we reported on a strange Model X accident that ended with the SUV crashing into a building in Irvine, California. Fortunately, no one was severely injured in the accident, but the Model X owner claims that the vehicle accelerated on its own while entering a parking space and the driver was unable to decelerate before it ‘autonomously’ crashed into the building.

We contacted Tesla and the company reviewed the logs around the time of the accident.  A representative is now assuring us that the Autopilot was not at fault and that the vehicle operated in a way consistent with the driver’s actions.

A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement after reviewing the vehicle’s logs:

“We analyzed the vehicle logs which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed. Safety is the top priority at Tesla and we engineer and build our cars with this foremost in mind. We are pleased that the driver is ok and ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles.”

It sounds like a human mistake. As we discussed this morning, the Model X owner insisted that the vehicle did it on its own:

“Our 5 day old Tesla X today while entering a parking stall suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated at high speed on its own climbing over 39 feet of planters and crashing into a building.”

And this is why Tesla keeps detailed logs – the logs don’t lie. We reached out to the Model X owner again for a comment following Tesla’s review of the logs. We will update if we hear back.

Update: The owner of the Model X sent us the following statement – confirming that his wife was driving the vehicle at the time, but he is sticking with her version of the event. In other words, that the Model X accelerated on its own:

“My wife is a 45-year-old woman with a great driving record. Not and incapacitated driver. She has been going to that center for over 20 years and parking in the same stalls hundreds of times.
She knows the difference between brake and accelerator pedal. I am waiting to hear from Tesla whether the accelerator pedal can be depressed by the car electronically similar to gas-powered cars’ pedal being depressed on their own while in cruise control.”
It sounds like he wants to base his defense on the vehicle’s ability to autonomously depress the pedal to make the vehicle accelerate, but it is our understanding that the logs can clearly show the difference between the computer activating the accelerator pedal (Autopilot never actuates the accelerator pedal) and the accelerator pedal being physically depressed, which would explain Tesla’s statement that the Model X was ‘consistent with the driver’s actions’.

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