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Tesla Investigates Fatal Crash in China

  • VOA News

FILE - A man looks around Tesla Motors' Model S P85 at its showroom in Beijing, China.

FILE - A man looks around Tesla Motors' Model S P85 at its showroom in Beijing, China.

Tesla Motors is investigating a fatal crash involving one of its vehicles in China in January, the company announced Wednesday.

But it said it has "no way of knowing" the question at the center of the controversy - whether the driver was using the semi-automated autopilot system at the time of the crash.

"Because of the damage caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers," Tesla said.

23-year-old Gao Yaning was killed while driving a Tesla vehicle in January that hit the back of a road sweeping vehicle on a Chinese highway, China's CCTV news channel reported. An official interviewed in the report said the Autopilot feature was turned on at the time of the crash.

Gao's family filed a lawsuit in a Beijing court against both Tesla and the local dealer that sold Gao the car in July. But Tesla said in the statement that the family had not cooperated with the company's investigation.

"We have tried repeatedly to work with our customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but he has not provided us with any additional information that would allow us to do so," the statement read.

Tesla's driver assist feature continues to come under scrutiny, particularly after a crash in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida killed a 40-year-old occupant in May when Autopilot equipment failed to distinguish the white siding on a tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky.

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