Well, at least there was no fire this time.
The driver of a Tesla Model S crashed into an unoccupied, parked police vehicle in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Tuesday. The “driver” – really, a meatsack – told investigators the Tesla was in Autopilot mode at the time, according to news reports.
Tesla corporate was quick to issue a release denouncing the meatsack behind the wheel:
“Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents,” which is fine except for the fact that Autopilot encourages the “driver” to not-drive. It is, as Dr. Strangelove said of the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, the point of the whole thing, you see. If you have to pay attention to the road – to be prepared to drive when the Autopilot is about to drive you into the wall, a pedestrian – whatever it is – then it’s like a lawnmower you can’t use to cut the grass with.
Several crashes and fire incidents involving Tesla vehicles this year have been near constant challenges for CEO Elon Musk, who boasts that the company’s vehicles are among the safest in the industry.
Except when they mistake a concrete barrier for an exit – which in a way, it kind of is. For the people inside. A final exit.
This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was sending a team to investigate the crash of a Tesla vehicle in South Jordan, Utah. The driver was traveling at 60 mph when the Model S smashed into a firetruck stopped at a red light.
Police in Utah said data from Tesla showed that the driver enabled Autopilot about 1 minute and 22 seconds before the crash. The report said she took her hands off the steering wheel “within two seconds” of engaging the system and then did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds, until the crash happened.
NHTSA is also investigating a fatal crash in March that involved a Tesla Model X using Autopilot that struck a highway divider. The agency is also probing the January crash of a Tesla vehicle apparently traveling in Autopilot that struck a parked firetruck. Both of those incidents were also in California.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also probing four Tesla crashes that have occurred since last year, including three under review by NHTSA.
Tesla’s Model S owner’s manual warns some Autopilot functions “cannot detect all objects and may not brake/decelerate for stationary vehicles or objects especially when traveling over 50 mph (80 kph)” and when a vehicle ahead of the driver “moves out of your driving path and a stationary vehicle or object is in front of you.”
Remember: It’s all for your saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!
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