Tesla's Autopilot system under scrutiny in fatal China crash

FILE - In this Monday, April 25, 2016, file photo, a staff member cleans the hood of a Tesla Model S electric car near a display advertising Tesla's self-driving features at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Beijing, China. Tesla says it can't verify whether a vehicle autopilot system is to blame for the death of a Chinese man whose father claimed in a report broadcasted Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, on state television that the driver-assist feature was active at the time of his crash. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

BEIJING — Tesla faces new scrutiny in China about its vehicle Autopilot system after state television broadcast allegations that a man killed in a crash had activated the driver-assist feature of his car.

The state broadcaster CCTV aired a report Wednesday about a January crash that killed 23-year-old Gao Yaning. The report included apparent dash cam footage of the car slamming into a slow-moving orange truck.

An official interviewed in the report said the car's Autopilot feature was active at the time of the crash. CCTV reported Gao's family has sued Tesla in a Beijing court, though the lawsuit was not available in online court records. Officials at the court did not answer the phone on Thursday, a Chinese holiday.

Tesla said in a statement that the car was too damaged in the wreck to transmit data to company servers, and that Gao's family had not cooperated with the company's investigation.

"We have tried repeatedly to work with our customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but he has not provided us with any additional information that would allow us to do so," it said.

A spokeswoman for the company did not respond to questions about what the car had reported before the crash.

The nationally broadcast report was a potential setback for Palo Alto, California-based Tesla's efforts to expand in China, the world's largest auto market. Tesla has explored building a manufacturing plant in China, but under national regulations that would require it to partner with a domestic company.

Both in China and the U.S., Tesla has faced scrutiny and criticism over its marketing of driver-assist features. Last month, the company revised language on its Chinese website that it said would make clearer to drivers that its Autopilot system was not self-driving.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating the May death of a 40-year-old Tesla driver in Florida. The Tesla driver-assist feature was engaged during the crash of the Tesla Model S sedan.

Must Read

China ratifies Paris climate deal ahead of G-20...

Sep 3, 2016

China announced on Saturday that it would formally enter the emissions-cutting agreement reached...

US, Russia close on Syria deal, but Obama says...

Sep 4, 2016

President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia are working "around the clock" to try to...

Britain's May seeks out new trading relations...

Sep 4, 2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she intends to seize new trading opportunities for a...

China promises cooperation on steel at global...

Sep 5, 2016

China promises cooperation on steel at global summit amid pressure for trade curbs

Leader of Chinese protest village gets 3 years in...

Sep 9, 2016

The democratically elected mayor of a fishing village in southern China _ which became a focus of...

People also read these

China ratifies Paris climate deal ahead of G-20...

Sep 3, 2016

China announced on Saturday that it would formally enter the emissions-cutting agreement reached...

US, Russia close on Syria deal, but Obama says...

Sep 4, 2016

President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia are working "around the clock" to try to...

Hong Kong election highlights rising anti-China...

Sep 4, 2016

Polls opened in Hong Kong Sunday for the specially administered Chinese city's most crucial...

Alibaba fires 4 employees accused of stealing...

Sep 14, 2016

Four employees at Chinese internet giant Alibaba have lost their jobs after being accused of...

China launches second space station, Tiangong 2

Sep 15, 2016

China has launched its second space station in a sign of the growing sophistication of its...