Tesla crashes into parked police car in Autopilot mode

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 01 June 2018 16:51
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Video shows man sitting in passenger seat of Tesla while car is set to autopilot

A Tesla car was running on autopilot when it crashed into a parked police car - the latest accident to involve a vehicle using driver-assist technology.

The officer was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash but "the driver of the Tesla sedan sustained minor injuries as a result of the collision," police in Laguna Beach, California said after the accident after releasing pictures of the accident's aftermath.

"To say the least, it is not in good shape," the force added in a tweet.

Tesla did not confirm that the privately owned vehicle was running on autopilot at the time, but the firm made it clear in a statement that drivers are expected to maintain control of their vehicles at all time and the car is not intended to drive itself.

"When using autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel," a spokesperson said.

On its website, the electric car maker describes the self-driving hardware on all of its vehicles as having the potential to offer a safety level "substantially greater than that of a human driver."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously said that the system will "never be perfect" but claims the technology has the potential to reduce road fatalities by a factor of 10.

The Autopilot system uses sensors and cameras to keep speed, change lanes, brake to avoid obstacles and self-park.

However, there have been a number of accidents in recent months, including a fatal collision in California in March.

Tesla acknowledged that the Tesla Model X was engaged in autopilot but said the driver's hands had not been on the wheel for six seconds prior to the accident, despite several warnings.

Mr Musk has previously criticised media coverage of accidents involving Tesla vehicles, arguing that it is disproportionate to accidents involving vehicles not equipped with semi-autonomous technology.

"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the 40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in the past year get almost no coverage," Mr Musk said on Twitter earlier this month, referencing an article by The Washington Post.

"What's actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60mph and the driver only broke an ankle. An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death."

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