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Wednesday, 29 August 2018 21:24

Driver Blames Autopilot for Crashing Tesla Into Fire Truck in CA

Written by Mario L. Major, Interesting Engineering
Driver Blames Autopilot for Crashing Tesla Into Fire Truck in CA SanJoseFireFighters/Twitter


As the revenues and output of Tesla's autonomous vehicles continue to rise, there has also been a small rise in the number of accidents involving the cars.


And based on the latest incident, it seems that the unmanned vehicles hold an inexplicable grudge against fire trucks.


The latest example is a collision that occurred the weekend of August 25 involving one of the company's Model S cars. The black vehicle struck the parked fire truck from behind around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, close to Coyote Creek on the Southbound Highway 101 in California.


The impact of the vehicle resulted in two of the passengers in the car requiring a trip to the hospital, though as in the other two cases from earlier in the year, no firefighters were hurt.


There is some suspicion that a DUI may be part of why the incident occurred, which led to an arrest of the driver, 37-year-old Michael Tran. He reportedly said on the scene, "I think I had auto-pilot on."


As for Tesla, it has remained clear about the autopilot feature: "Traffic-Aware Cruise Control cannot detect all objects and may not brake/decelerate for stationary vehicles, especially in situations when you are driving over 50 mph (80 km/h) and a vehicle you are following moves out of your driving path and a stationary vehicle or object is in front of you instead."


What this means is that until data is recovered from the car in question, the company most likely will not be releasing a detailed statement. This reiterates the point that parked vehicles are, and based on the latest incident, continue to be, a flaw (which Tesla acknowledges) when using autopilot.


The San Jose Fire Department shared images from the scene on Twitter:


tesla fire truck crash twitter web



Interestingly, this is the most recent of a string of similar incidents involving parked fire trucks. The incidents, added with the reported string of cases involving Model S cars catching fire, are raising safety concerns.

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