Tesla Model S on Autopilot smashed into a firetruck

Jan 25, 2018, 01:47
Tesla Model S on Autopilot smashed into a firetruck

A Tesla Model S electric auto crashed into the back of a fire engine in California after its driver apparently let the vehicle's Autopilot system take over.

The Culver City, California fire department said in a Twitter post that on Monday an engine was struck by a Tesla "traveling at 65 miles per hour". The driver claimed that the vehicle was in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode when the accident occurred. "Amazingly there were no injuries!" according to the tweet. "Smart people around the world are hard at work to automate driving, but systems available to consumers today, like Tesla's "Autopilot" system, are created to assist drivers with specific tasks in limited environments". It warns drivers not to delegate responsibility for watching the road to the onboard computer. The company did not confirm that autopilot had actually been used by the driver.

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The transportation safety board also issued safety recommendations to the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and two other manufacturers of Level 2 vehicle automation systems. The board advised Tesla to make a number of changes to the Autopilot system to make it safer and the carmaker did make a few. KRON, the Bay Area News Network, reports that police say the suspect's blood alcohol content (BAC) was over twice the legal limit, presumably based upon their measurement of that BAC.

The NTSB criticized Tesla and other carmakers for measuring whether a driver is paying attention using steering wheel movement in a September report about the fatal 2016 Tesla crash involving Autopilot.

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It's a modern-day high-tech road warrior's worst nightmare: Your autopilot vehicle crashes your auto-piloted self into another car, or truck, or wall. The Model S had been set on autopilot and neither the vehicle nor the driver recognized that a tractor-trailer hauling blueberries had turned onto the divided highway. The NTSB partially faulted Tesla's "autopilot." In September the company said, "Autopilot significantly increases safety", citing an earlier government study that suggested the system reduced the incidence of crashes.

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