The Model X sports a semi-autonomous feature, Autopilot, that allows the car to accelerate, brake and steer on its own, using sensors to monitor the road ahead. When his vehicle crashed into a building in Irvine, California, owner Puzant Ozbag claimed on a Tesla forum that the car accelerated on its own as his wife was trying to park it. He said that the car’s Autopilot system must have been involved.
But an investigation by Tesla has suggested that the car was in fully manual mode when the accident happened.
In a statement, Tesla said: “Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100 percent … Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed.”
Tesla is relatively unusual in the amount of data it collects from its cars, but the practice is likely to increase among manufacturers, especially as autonomous driving becomes more popular. With vehicle connectivity increasing all the time, car makers are keen to get as much data as possible, both for the development of autonomous systems and for other opportunities, such as insurance deals that offer discounts for proven safe driving.
The company recently announced that it will charge Model 3 owners for use of its Superchargers, which are free for owners of the more expensive Model S and Model X cars.