Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode crashes into fire truck in Utah

Tesla Reorganisation Underway Says CEO Elon Musk

Police in a Salt Lake City suburb say it's not immediately known whether a Tesla Model S sedan's semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system was in use when it rear-ended a truck apparently without braking before impact at approximately 60 miles per hour. The 28-year-old driver of the auto told police in suburban Salt Lake City that the system was switched on and that she had been looking at her phone before the Friday evening crash.

The Tesla autopilot system uses radar, cameras with 360-degree visibility and sensors to detect surrounding vehicles and objects.

"In the wake of this violent impact, the lithium ion batteries could have provoked a process known as "thermal runaway", that is, a rapid and unstoppable increase in temperature", said Bellinzona police in a Facebook post on Monday.

A Tesla spokesperson did not comment following the disclosure about the use of the feature.

"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in United States auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage", he tweeted.

The Tesla Model S crashed into the truck at 60 miles per hour (97 kph) apparently without braking before impact, according to police in South Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City.

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United States police said it was unknown if the car's autopilot feature was on at the time. The driver of the Tesla, who was taken to the hospital with a broken foot, has yet to be named, and police reported she did not brake before impact of the crash.

"What's actually incredible about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 miles per hour and the driver only broke an ankle", Musk tweeted.

Matthew Schwall was director of field performance engineering at Tesla; he quit his job at a critical time when U. S. National Transportation Safety Board's investigations into their electric vehicles are still going on.

Tesla's stock price slipped Monday following another autopilot crash, this time in Utah, which the NTSB said it would investigate alongside its other now open investigation into the fatal crash of a Model X in California in March.

Last week, the NTSB opened a probe into an incident in which a Model S caught fire after crashing into a wall in Florida. The agency has said it does not expect the semi-autonomous system to be a focus of that investigation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during an event to launch the new Tesla Model X Crossover SUV on September 29, 2015, in Fremont, California.

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