Apr 18 (Reuters) – Two men are killed after a Tesla vehicle, believed to be operating with no one in the driver’s seat, crashed into a tree north of Houston on Saturday night, authorities said.
“There was no one in the driver’s seat,” Harris County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cinthya Umanzor said.
The 2019 Tesla Model S was traveling at high speed when it failed to round a curve and went off the road, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames, local television station KHOU-TV said.
After the fire was extinguished, authorities located 2 occupants in the vehicle, one in the front passenger seat while the other was in the back seat of the Tesla, according to the report, citing Harris County Agent Mark Herman.
Tesla and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The accident comes amid growing scrutiny over Tesla’s semi-automatic driving system after some recent accidents, as the company prepares to release updated “total autonomous driving” software.
The U.S. auto safety agency said in March it opened 27 investigations into Tesla vehicle crashes.
(Reported by Hyunjoo Jin in Berkeley, California, and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru. Additional information by Rodrigo Charme)