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Investigation into fatal Tesla autopilot crash finds no defect in vehicle

An investigation conducted by the US Transportation Department following a fatal crash involving a Tesla car on autopilot has established that there were no defects found in the system of the vehicle.

The complex issue of autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars came under huge public scrutiny following the fatal car accident which occurred in Florida last May. However, the findings of the investigation have been welcomed by Tesla founder Elon Musk who described the report as ‘very positive'.

Bryan Thomas, spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said no safety-related defects were identified in the fatal crash. He said: "The investigation is now closed. The NHTSA reviewed dozens of other non-fatal crashes that happened when the autopilot feature was in use in Tesla's, including the Model S involved in the fatal crash in May."

Thomas stressed that while no defect is apparent in the Tesla - and the investigation has now been closed - he reiterated that the closing of this investigation did not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.

He continued: "The agency will monitor the issue and reserves the right to take future action if warranted by the circumstances."  Thomas said the investigation indicated the fatal Florida crash, in which a Tesla was hit by a truck crossing a highway, involved "a number of human factor issues," including use of the automatic system beyond its design.