Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Whose fault? Tesla crashes into hearth truck, driver blames autopilot

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Nellie Chapman | 24 January, 2018, 10:58

Another accident in which a Tesla driver blamed the autopilot system took place in San Francisco just last week. And according to Tesla officials, the car's autopilot is intended for use "only with a fully attentive driver". Amazingly there were no injuries! The Tesla Model S, while reportedly on "Autopilot" mode, smashed into the rear of a fire truck parked at a freeway accident scene. Tesla classifies Autopilot it as a "driver assistance system" and not "autonomous driving". The investigation following the crash concluded, in part, that Tesla didn't have sufficient safeguards to ensure driver attention while using autopilot. Other manufacturers have said their systems rely on the driver to respond to stationery objects.

In the case of the fire truck crash, Tesla can look at the car's data to determine whether the vehicle was actually using autopilot prior to the crash, but they have not said whether they did so, The Washington Post reported.

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. Additionally, the Autopilot system is not created to be used on roads with crossing traffic.

The fatal incident raised questions about the safety of systems that can perform driving tasks for extended stretches of time with little or no human intervention, but which cannot completely replace human drivers.

Not sure I can recall the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigating too many crashes involving fire apparatus (I'm sure someone will correct me). Those vehicles both had their lights flashing.