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Self-driving Tesla crashes into fire engine in California

26 January, 2018, 02:34 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Smashed This Tesla Model S driving on Autopilot plowed into the rear of a Culver City California fire engine on Monday prompting an NTSB investigation

Tesla wouldn't say if Autopilot was working at the time of the Culver City crash, but said in a statement Monday that drivers must stay attentive when it's in use. The Tesla was driving in autopilot mode, according to the driver.

The board concluded that design limitations of the Tesla Model S's Autopilot played a role in the crash, along with the driver's over-reliance on the new technology.

In the crash on Monday, the Tesla Model S drove into the back of a fire engine that was parked just off the main highway as it was attending to a crash on the other side of the motorway. No injuries were reported by the California Highway Patrol but authorities said they were told by the Tesla driver that he had activated Autopilot before the incident occurred.

That data could prove valuable to investigators with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who will be examining the crashed auto, Business Insider says.

In two separate events involving a Tesla Model S and GM's Chevy Bolt, the self-driving modes of the respective vehicles have been blamed by some for causing a traffic incident. Model S sedan that rear-ended a firetruck on a freeway near Los Angeles on Monday, the agency said. The accident report filed after the December 7 crash appears to contradict some of the claims made in the suit, however.


In its September 2017 report on the fatal accident, the NTSB recommended that automakers incorporate safeguards that keep drivers' attention engaged and that limit the use of automated systems to the conditions for which they were designed.

The NTSB investigated a Florida crash previous year, where a Model S ran under a semi-truck, which killed the driver. With level 2 systems, drivers are supposed to continuously monitor vehicle performance and be ready to take control if necessary. The driver in the Florida crash had his hands on the sedan's steering wheel for only 25 seconds out of the 37.5 minutes the vehicle's cruise control and lane-keeping systems were in use prior to the crash, investigators found.

These warnings were not adhered to and it forced Tesla to input a new safety feature which will prevent Autopilot from functioning if the hands are not on the wheel. The German government even urged Tesla to rename its Autopilot system and for owners to learn about the capabilities of their vehicle.

Tesla´s Autopilot system is a semi-autonomous driving system that keeps the vehicle centred in its lane at a pre-determined distance from other cars.

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