Tesla wipes out police car, ambulance, while allegedly on 'Autopilot'
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For as long as it's existed, Tesla's 'Autopilot' semi-autonomous system has attracted praise and scrutiny in equal measure. On one hand it's often revered as one of the best level two autonomous systems on the market. On the other hand, it's also a system that's been connected to a raft of high-profile mistakes and a handful of driver deaths.
And, earlier this week, another crashed allegedly caused by Autopilot failure took place in the US.
🚨 Reminder: Please #SlowDown & #MoveOver when you see flashing lights & vehicles stopped on the side of the road! Today, a Tesla rear-ended a patrol vehicle at the scene of an earlier crash on I-10 EB near Benson. Luckily, our sergeant wasn’t in the vehicle & wasn't hurt. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/WZhUQ10StL— Dept. of Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) July 14, 2020
The incident took place yesterday near Benson, Arizona, when a Tesla Model S driver slammed into a State Trooper Ford Explorer, which in turn hit an ambulance. Thankfully neither the police officer nor the occupants in the ambulance were injured. The 23-year-old Tesla driver has been hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver claimed to officers that his Tesla was on Autopilot at the time of the crash, according to the Department of Safety, who also confirmed that it's investigating the driver for possibly driving while intoxicated.
While many cars come with level two autonomy (down to most models in the Suzuki Swift range), Tesla's Autopilot system has come under particular heat due to some drivers mistaking it for a fully autonomous level five system due to its name.
Earlier this week, a German court case concluded that Tesla misled consumers on the abilities of its self-driving tech. This was on the basis of Tesla's website claiming "automatic driving on city streets" would be arriving "later this year" — an unfulfilled message that was on the firm's website all through 2019 according to CNBC.
“A legal framework for autonomous inner-city driving doesn’t even exist yet in Germany,” said German lawyer Andreas Ottfuelling, “and other functions aren’t working yet as advertised.”