A driver of a Tesla Model X recently got into a serious accident after his crossover SUV rammed into the back of a semi-truck. While photos of the crash site are harrowing, the driver reportedly emerged with no serious injuries aside from a “stiff neck”, according to a post from Electrek.
What makes the aforementioned crash rather interesting is that the driver claims that Tesla’s famed autopilot software was responsible for the collision while, at the same time, claiming that the car’s numerous safety features helped save his life.
Detailing the crash in a post on Facebook, the driver writes:
There was a pickup truck that was out of gas in the right lane (lights were either dim or off, and give the night, was hard to see). A semi was pulling up onto it, saw it, braked and swerved into my middle lane. Autopilot did not disengage, but did the emergency beep about 1 second before impact. I was looking off to the side, and impacted the truck immediately after I heard the beep and looked forward.
Upon impact, the bottom half of the semi truck sliced right through the passenger side of the Model X, completely tearing off the headrest and portions of the roof. Thankfully, there was no one in the passenger seat at the time.
Summing up the incident, the driver notes: “The autopilot caused me to drive full speed into the back of a semi, but the amazing safety ratings saved my life. While I’m grateful that I’m alive, I just want to put this on notice to not get overly comfortable with the autopilot and that there are still many flaws and unaccountable situations.”
It’s a fair point, but it also calls into question the current utility of Tesla’s Autopilot software. In its current incarnation, Tesla stresses that its Autopilot software is not a replacement for paying full attention to the road. Nonetheless, if Tesla advises its drivers that it shouldn’t look away from the road for even a quick second, one can reasonably wonder how useful the feature actually is.
That said, there are certainly no shortage of videos which demonstrate how Tesla’s Autopilot software can help prevent serious crashes. Clearly, though, we’re still a ways away from being able to sit back, relax and let a car’s AI do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to driving.
A photo of the crash’s aftermath was also posted online. Indeed, it’s amazing that the driver managed to survive with barely a scratch and a sore neck.
Speaking to the safety of Tesla’s vehicles, it’s worth re-visiting a story from a few months ago where a Tesla Model S got with 5 occupants got into an accident and ended up flying 82 feet in the air. Upon landing, the Tesla was an absolute wreck (as photographed below) but all 5 individuals managed to survive with non-life threatening injuries.