Two men are dead after a Tesla reportedly crashed without anyone in the driver’s seat.
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Tesla’s autonomous driving technology has been blamed for yet another deadly crash in the US, with authorities claiming two people died after a Tesla crashed when no-one was in the driver’s seat.

The 2019 Tesla Model S sedan reportedly left the road and struck a tree on a road north of Houston, Texas, on Saturday night US time.

“There was no one in the driver’s seat,” Sergeant Cinthya Umanzor told news agency Reuters.

Overseas reports say the 2019 Tesla Model S was “traveling at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate a curve and went off the roadway, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames”.

Emergency services crews found the remains of two occupants in the vehicle, “with one in the front passenger seat while the other was in the back seat of the Tesla,” US media reported.

US media outlet Jalopnik reported the fire brigade used 87,000 litres of water to extinguish the fire, which was fuelled by the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack.

Representatives for Tesla and the USA’s top road safety body, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), were yet to issue a statement as this article was published.

The Reuters news agency reported the latest deadly Tesla crash comes “amid growing scrutiny over Tesla’s semi-automated driving system following recent accidents” and as the company prepares to launch updated software that would allow “full self-driving software” to more customers.

Last month, NHTSA confirmed it had commenced 27 investigations into crashes of Tesla vehicles.

The outspoken CEO of the electric-car start-up Tesla, Elon Musk, said in January he was “highly confident the car will be able to drive itself with reliability in excess of humans” by the end of this year.

In 2017, a technical expert for US car giant General Motors said Musk’s forecast of a rapid rollout of autonomous technology was “full of crap”.

At the time, Musk had claimed Tesla cars “already have the hardware needed for a full self-driving capability”, known in the industry as a Level Five engineering standard.

In an interview with Australian media visiting Detroit, General Motors’ director of autonomous vehicle integration, Scott Miller, said: “I think he’s full of crap”, when asked what he thought about Musk’s claim.

“If you think you can see everything you need for a Level Five autonomous (car) with cameras and radar, I don’t know how you do that,” said Mr Miller.

“To be what an SAE Level Five full autonomous system is, I don’t think he (Elon Musk) has the content to do that … we think it’s irresponsible to say (a car has fully autonomous capability) at this point.”