SPONSORED:

No one driving Tesla before Texas crash that killed two, authorities say

A Tesla vehicle that struck a tree near Houston on Saturday, killing two passengers, did not appear to have anyone in the driver's seat at the time of the crash and may have been the result of a failure of the car's self-driving feature, according to police.

Authorities in Harris County told reporters at a press conference that the positions of the bodies in the wreck appeared to indicate that “no one was driving the vehicle at the time of impact,” according to Bloomberg, though the incident is still under investigation.

The deadly crash was complicated by a fire that erupted in the car as an apparent result of the battery being damaged, which firefighters struggled for hours to get under control and eventually used more than 30,000 gallons of water to put out.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Hill has reached out to Tesla for comment. The company warns users that its self-driving feature, which has auto-steering features, is not a fully self-driving mode and requires a human behind the wheel to safely operate.

The feature, dubbed "Autopilot," is described on the company's website as requiring "active driver supervision," but the company stresses on the same page that its cars have the technology to be fully autonomous.

"All new Tesla cars have the hardware needed in the future for full self-driving in almost all circumstances. The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat," the company says on its website.

Fully self-driving cars are not currently legal for consumer use in the U.S.