NHTSA Investigating Tesla Model X Autopilot Crash in Pennsylvania

Safety agency looking to see whether or not semi-autonomous technology was in use at the time.

Tesla Model X Crash
Tesla

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has opened an investigation into the recent crash of a Tesla Model X on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in order to see if the electric SUV was using its Autopilot system at the time of the accident, according to the agency.

NHTSA said it is working with Pennsylvania State Police, Tesla, and the Model X's driver, Albert Scaglione, to gather information about the crash, which occurred at 5pm on July 1 a little more than 100 miles east of Pittsburgh. Police reports filed after the accident stated the car hit a guardrail on the right side of the road, caromed across the lanes, hit the center divider, and flipped onto its roof before coming to a stop.

Some confusion has arisen over whether or not the Model X was using Autopilot at the time of the crash. According to the Detroit Free Press, driver Albert Scaglione told police he was using the semi-autonomous driving system at the time of the crash; Tesla, however, is refuting those claims.

"Tesla received a message from the car on July 1st indicating a crash event, but logs were never transmitted. We have no data at this point to indicate that Autopilot was engaged or not engaged," a Tesla spokesperson told The Drive. " This is consistent with the nature of the damage reported in the press, which can cause the antenna to fail." (Damage to the car's antenna, which is mounted on the roof, may have also been one of the reasons it took several days for Tesla to notify federal investigators after the crash of a Model S on Autopilot in Florida back in May.)

Tesla also told The Drive that the carmaker has repeatedly attempted to contact Scaglione since the accident six days ago, but has been unable to reach him. Further details about the accident, including whether or not Autopilot was on at the time of the accident, can only be obtained by accessing the Model X's on-board records.