Driver: Tesla's Autopilot engaged during crash

Swiss Tesla accident: crash may have sparked battery fire

More Bad News for Telsa

Responding to a user who indicated that Tesla's autopilot function still needs safety tweaking, Musk stated: "It certainly needs to be better & we work to improve it every day, but ideal is enemy of good".

The driver of a Tesla electric auto that hit a Utah fire department vehicle over the weekend says the car's semi-autonomous Autopilot mode was engaged at the time of the crash.

"What's actually incredible about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 m.p.h. and the driver only broke an ankle", he added.

News of the crash came as a top Tesla official who had been the main technical contact with USA safety investigators left the company to join rival Waymo.

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Just last week, the NTSB opened an investigation into a case where a fatal Fort Lauderdale crash raised eyebrows, as it was the agency's fourth active probe into the automaker's electric vehicles.

While consumers nationwide have reason to be on edge when it comes to the fast-growing self-driving vehicle industry, Tesla's Autopilot feature has been a hot button issue for some time now, despite the company touting it as "the future of driving". The 18 year-old driver slammed into a concrete wall, and the vehicle burst into flames, trapping the occupants inside. Tesla requires drivers to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel at all times when Autopilot is engaged. Two people died in that incident, although the NTSB does not believe that Tesla's semi-autonomous system was to blame.

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

"In exceptional circumstances, lithium ion batteries can experience a sudden and unstoppable rise in temperature - a sort of chain reaction that can lead to a breakdown of the thermal equilibrium of the system and to the complete destruction of the batteries and the vehicle", fire safety expert Guido Zaccarelli said in an article quoted by the Bellinzona fire brigade.

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"This remains an active investigation and the South Jordan Police Department is now working with technicians from Tesla to gather and review data stored within the vehicle, which may take several days", police sergeant Samuel Winkler said in a statement published online this week.

Schwall had been Tesla's director of field performance engineering, according to his LinkedIn page, which said he served as Tesla's primary technical contact with safety regulatory agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

"It certainly needs to be better and we work to improve it every day, but ideal is the enemy of good", Musk tweeted. "A system that, on balance, saves lives & reduces injuries should be released".

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed that one gunshot victim was hospitalized after the incident. The campuses were searched and no incidents of concern were reported, the superintendent later said.

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