INTERNATIONAL - Tesla Inc. denied reports that one of its Model S vehicles drove off by itself and crashed into cars in Brussels this week, saying a driver was in control without use of its Autopilot feature when the accident took place.
The Tesla vehicle crashed into five parked cars in the Brussels borough of Saint-Gilles Tuesday, with the driver reportedly having said he was outside the car, with the engine running, as it drove away.
Police said it received a call for an incident involving a Tesla and other cars in the early evening of May 29, but did not intervene as the owners decided to handle the case through their insurance companies, Kathleen Calie, a spokeswoman for Brussels South police, said by phone.
“We have investigated the facts of the incident and we can confirm that the customer was driving and operating his car himself, without using Autopilot, which is a level 2 driving assistance system that doesn’t make a Tesla a self-driving car,” a Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions.
Tesla markets the driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control, automated steering capability and others under the Autopilot name. Tesla stresses that drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times while using Autopilot.