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Tesla Crash With Autopilot Triggers Safety Board's Interest

25 January 2018

A Tesla Model S vehicle running on Autopilot mode crashed into a fire truck that was summoned to an accident on the 405 Freeway.

On Monday, the local firefighter union tweeted while exhibiting a picture of a Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S with its nose stuck under the back end of a fire truck with its hood badly rucked.

Some consumer advocates have accused Tesla of using technology that hasn't been safely tested after a number of accidents involving the autopilot mode in Tesla vehicles in recent years. "Amazingly there were no injuries!" according to the tweet.

Tesla classifies Autopilot as a "driver assistance system" and not "autonomous driving".

Moreover, the Autopilot system is not developed to be used with crossing traffic on roads. The autopilot system is created to get a driver's attention if it detects a challenging situation and brings the auto to a stop if a driver does not respond.

Both emergency vehicles had their lights flashing, Powell added.


Despite the warnings, Tesla has been accused in the past of making Autopilot seem like a safer feature than it actually is.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the crash, according to Bloomberg, but the board is unsure if it will open a formal inquiry.

Tesla has the ability to analyse data gathered by its vehicles' on-board computers to determine the cause of crashes, and has shared information with the press about previous high-profile accidents. The change reduced the period of time before the "Autopilot" system issues a warning/alert when the driver's hands are off the steering wheel.

For example, a fatal Tesla crash involving the autopilot system drew global scrutiny in spring 2016. It appears Tesla may still have some work to do in educating its customers about the limitations of autopilot, or implementing further controls to prevent drivers from misusing it. He was promptly arrested and police determined the man had a blood alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit.

In a deadly crash in Florida in 2016, a Tesla Model S driver using Autopilot drove under the side of a semi truck that had turned left in front of it.

Tesla Crash With Autopilot Triggers Safety Board's Interest