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Tesla Model S driver blames buggy Autopilot software for highway crash

Updated Aug 5th, 2016 2:11PM EDT
Tesla Model S Crash

A Model S driver in China who recently got into a minor fender bender is laying blame for the incident squarely on Tesla’s Autopilot software. In a video uploaded to Weibo this week, we see dashcam footage of a Model S cruising down a highway whereupon it just barely scrapes by a presumably broken down car sitting partially on the shoulder and partially on the highway itself.

The incident occurred on a Beijing highway and the driver posted both video footage of the incident along with photos of the aftermath. The impact doesn’t appear to be terribly significant, but the photos reveal that more damage was done than suggested by the video.

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As you can see via the footage below, the car in front of the Model S slightly veers to the right to avoid crashing into the parked car, something which the driver of the Model S did not do himself.

This video here raises a few interesting issues. For starters, Tesla advises drivers to keep their hands on or close to the wheel at all times, specifically for instances like this. To this point, was the driver simply not paying attention to the road when the impact occurred? Second, it’s a bit peculiar that the Model S’ Autopilot software didn’t swerve slightly out of the way.

The accident reportedly caused approximately $7,500 worth of damage, and the driver of the Model S believes Tesla should pay half on account of Tesla’s buggy Autopilot software. As relayed by Jalopnik, the driver even called out Tesla for “exaggerating the abilities of the Autopilot functions while only giving scant warning that it’s an assistance system and shouldn’t be fully relied upon.”

Indeed, one of the longstanding problems with Autopilot isn’t that the software itself is limited, it’s that Tesla has spent far too much time boasting about its capabilities without being as up front as it should be about the software’s limitations.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.