Fatal accident involving electric vehicle in Texas investigated

Detroit. The agency responsible for investigating transportation incidents in the United States is investigating a fatal crash that occurred in San Antonio, Texas, involving a Ford electric vehicle that may have used a partially automated driving system.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a statement Friday that a team of investigators from its Highway Traffic Safety Office will travel to Texas and work with police on the Feb. 24 crash on Interstate 10.

The NTSB indicated that preliminary information shows that a Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV equipped with the company’s partially automated driving system collided with the rear of a Honda CR-V that was stopped in a lane of the highway.

Television station KSAT said the driver of the Mach-E told police the Honda had stopped in the middle lane with the lights off before the crash, which happened around 9:50 p.m. 56 year old driver of CR-V died,

“The NTSB is investigating this fatal crash because of its continuing interest in advanced driver assistance systems and the way vehicle operators interact with these technologies,” the agency’s statement said.

Ford’s Blue Cruise system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel while the system handles steering, braking and accelerating on highways. The company notes that the system is not fully autonomous and does monitor drivers to make sure they pay attention to the road. According to Ford, it works on 97% of controlled-access highways in the United States and Canada.

There are no fully autonomous vehicles for sale in the United States.

The NTSB said investigators would travel to San Antonio to investigate the crash, gather information about the crash site, and analyze the events that led to the collision. A preliminary report is expected within 30 days.

Ford said in a statement that it was investigating the incident and that the facts were still unclear. The company expressed its condolences to those involved and said it had reported the accident to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA and the NTSB have investigated several previous incidents involving partially automated driving systems, the majority of which involved Tesla’s Autopilot system. In a previous investigation, the NTSB examined how the partially automated system worked.

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