Two die after Tesla 'on auto-pilot with no one in driving seat' crashes into tree and starts massive four-hour fire that took 32,000 GALLONS of water to extinguish

 Two men died after a Tesla 'on autopilot with no one driving' crashed into a tree in Houston before starting a huge fire that took 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish. 

The fully-electric 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into the tree in Carlton Woods at around 11.25pm on Saturday night before bursting into flames with the passengers still inside. 

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said an investigation had found that 'no one was driving' when the accident happened, with one man sitting in the passenger seat at the front and the second sitting in the back. 


Officials told KPRC 2 that the $80,000 vehicle was moving at high speed when it failed to negotiate a cul-de-sac turn, ran off the road and crashed.

The fully-electric 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into the tree in Carlton Woods at around 11.25pm on Saturday night before bursting into flames with the passengers still inside

The fully-electric 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into the tree in Carlton Woods at around 11.25pm on Saturday night before bursting into flames with the passengers still inside

Fire fighters used 32,000 gallons of water over four hours to try to put out the flames because the car's batteries kept reigniting. 

At one point, deputies had to call Tesla to ask them how to put out a fire in the battery. 

Dailymail.com has contacted Tesla for comment, as officials prepare to carry out autopsies on both men.  


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating 23 crashes involving Tesla cars believed to be on Autopilot, the New York Times reported.

The mode uses sensors and cameras to detect lane markets, obstacles or other vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Saturday to say that vehicles with Autopilot engaged were 'now approaching a 10 times lower chance of accident' than the average vehicle.  

Fire fighters used 32,000 gallons of water over four hours to try and put out the flames because the car's batteries kept reigniting

Fire fighters used 32,000 gallons of water over four hours to try and put out the flames because the car's batteries kept reigniting 

But last month, the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) suggested Tesla was using customers as 'guinea pigs' to test its autonomous driving technology before it is officially approved.

In a letter to its sister agency, the NHTSA, NTSB called for stricter requirements for design and use automated driving systems on public roads, CNBC reported. 

Tesla was named 16 times in the document, mainly due to the fact it released its 'Full Self-Driving' FSD) beta version to the public 'with limited oversight or reporting requirements.' 

Although NTSB criticized the firm for its lack of safeguarding, the agency also slammed the NHTSA for its 'hands-off approach' to monitor such testing on public roads.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Saturday to say that vehicles with Autopilot engaged were 'now approaching a 10 times lower chance of accident' than the average vehicle

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Saturday to say that vehicles with Autopilot engaged were 'now approaching a 10 times lower chance of accident' than the average vehicle

Tesla first launched its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta program in October to a limited number of customers who were deemed 'expert and careful drivers.'

The firm now has more than 1,000 paying customers testing the beta version that is currently Level 2 autonomy – drivers are required to remain aware and in control of all driving activity.

However, NTSB is not happy that thousands of customers are cruising around with the unapproved system, and is pushing for stricter requirements on autonomous technology.

Musk has been banging the drum for Tesla's with 'Full Self-Driving' (FSD) for more than five years, but a number of leaked emails revealed last month reveal the technology is far off from providing hands-free capabilities.

Elon Musk has been banging the drum for Tesla's with 'Full Self-Driving' (FSD) for more than five years, but a number of leaked emails reveal the technology is far from providing hands-free capabilities

Elon Musk has been banging the drum for Tesla's with 'Full Self-Driving' (FSD) for more than five years, but a number of leaked emails reveal the technology is far from providing hands-free capabilities

Documents between Tesla attorneys and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) say vehicles using the firm's latest beta version, known as 'Autosteer on City Streets' will not surpass Level 2 autonomy.

This level of autonomy requires drivers to remain aware and control the brake, accelerator and steering - despite Musk promising 'full self driving' by 2021.

Attorneys for the carmaker said the FSD beta upgrade 'does not make it autonomous under the DMV's definition,' along with stating the Level 2 of will 'remain largely unchanged' in a full customer rollout. 

'City Streets continues to firmly root the vehicle in SAE Level 2 capability and does not make it autonomous under the DMV's definition, wrote Eric Williams, Tesla associate general counsel, in a statement attached to an email with the California DMV that has been published to PlainSite.

'City Streets' capabilities with respect to the object and event detection and response (OEDR) sub-task are limited, as there are circumstances and events to which the system is not capable of recognizing or responding.' 

Documents between Tesla attorneys and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) say vehicles using the firm's latest beta version will not surpass Level 2 autonomy

Documents between Tesla attorneys and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) say vehicles using the firm's latest beta version will not surpass Level 2 autonomy

Level 0 through Level 2 states humans must drive cars with hands on the wheel and supervise partially automated functions.

The Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE, has developed five levels to describe autonomous vehicles.  

In Level 3 through Level 5, vehicles are capable of taking over more responsibility, with Level 5 describes as fully autonomous under all traffic and weather conditions. 

California has the highest number of Teslas in the US—45 percent of all sold in the country.


Two die after Tesla 'on auto-pilot with no one in driving seat' crashes into tree and starts massive four-hour fire that took 32,000 GALLONS of water to extinguish Two die after Tesla 'on auto-pilot with no one in driving seat' crashes into tree and starts massive four-hour fire that took 32,000 GALLONS of water to extinguish Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 10:30 Rating: 5

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