Tesla investigates another fatal crash, unclear whether autopilot involved


Questions regarding the safety of Tesla’s electric vehicles—and their ability to drive semi-autonomously—are being raised once again, following reports of a fatal crash on Wednesday morning in the town of Baarn, in the Netherlands. However there’s no evidence as yet that Autopilot was involved when a Model S left the road at high speed and hit a tree.

The impact was sufficient to damage the Model S’ battery pack enough that part of it ended up alight on the road surface. There are some reports in Dutch media that rescue attempts by the emergency services were hampered by this blaze, although it may just have been due to the nature of the wreck.

Tesla sent a representative to the crash site. The carmaker has said it will launch an investigation and that “[o]nce the outcome is known, Tesla will share with the audience,” something it has done for other high-profile crashes. Wednesday’s crash isn’t the first to make news in the Netherlands, and in July the Dutch vehicle approval authority was reportedly looking into differences between European and US implementations of Autopilot.

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