Tesla Motors said in a statement on Thursday it’s unlikely that its semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged when a Model S crashed in Indianapolis, killing the driver and a passenger.
The statement said that the company is cooperating with state officials investigating the crash.
Tesla reported that the car had sustained too much damage to be able to transmit data to servers at the company. The data would have been able to tell if the driver had the car in Autopilot.
Autopilot limits the vehicle’s speed to less than 35 miles per hour on the street. Tesla says it is likely the system wasn’t engaged due to the speed limits. Witness statements and the damage to the car suggest the car was going faster than that, Tesla said.
"We are deeply saddened to hear that this accident involved fatalities," the company said.
Witnesses reported that the vehicle was driving at a high speed when it hit a tree, crashed and caught fire, killing 27-year-old driver Casey Speckman and 44-year-old passenger Kevin McCarthy.
Police spokesman Maj. Richard Riddle said earlier Thursday that investigators were looking at whether Autopilot played a role in the accident. The system, which was introduced last year, can automatically drive the car at a set speed and keep it within its lane. Drivers need to touch the wheel at certain intervals or the system will turn off.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.