Tesla’s vaunted Autopilot feature may have been the cause of an accident in Culver City, California earlier this week, according to a report from by CBS Los Angeles. From what we’ve been able to gather thus far, a Model S was cruising down the 405 freeway at about 65 mph whereupon it crashed into the back of a firetruck which was attending to a different matter on the road. The driver of the Model S reportedly told authorities that the car was in Autopilot mode at the time of the incident. Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, the driver of the crash emerged unscathed.
Photos from the crash were initially posted online via the Culver City Firefighters Twitter account.
While working a freeway accident this morning, Engine 42 was struck by a #Tesla traveling at 65 mph. The driver reports the vehicle was on autopilot. Amazingly there were no injuries! Please stay alert while driving! #abc7eyewitness #ktla #CulverCity #distracteddriving pic.twitter.com/RgEmd43tNe
— Culver City Firefighters (@CC_Firefighters) January 22, 2018
News of yet another Autopilot crash can’t be good for Tesla given that the company has had something of a controversial history with respect to Autopilot. It is worth noting, though, that a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Tesla’s Autopilot feature ultimately makes driving safer for all parties on the road.
In a statement provided to Bloomberg, Tesla said that Autopilot is “intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.”
For what it’s worth, Tesla over the past few years has tweaked the Autopilot feature as to make it safer for drivers. Specifically, the Autopilot feature no longer allows drivers to simply turn the feature on and busy themselves with other activities. On the contrary, Autopilot now requires that drivers touch the steering wheel every two minutes. In scenarios where this does not happen, the car begins to slow down before coming to a complete halt.