In a fatal crash last week in Southern California, a Tesla Model 3 electric car crashed into an overturned truck in the middle of the night. The authorities’ investigation revealed that the Tesla electric car was using the company’s self-driving assistance system, Autopilot, at the time of the accident.
The May 5 crash is one of several recent accidents involving Tesla electric vehicles that have raised safety concerns about Tesla’s Autopilot system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is continuing to investigate the crash.
The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. when a 35-year-old man driving a Tesla Model 3 crashed into an overturned truck on the highway, killing the owner instantly. A man was assisting the driver of the semi-truck to leave the scene of the crash when he was also tragically struck and seriously injured.
According to the Associated Press, this is the fourth fatal accident involving the Autopilot system across the United States.
Tesla’s Autopilot assist system keeps the car in the center of the lane and at a safe distance from the car in front of it. However, owners must still pay attention to road conditions. Tesla says that users “must always keep their hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road”. In addition, the system will also detect if someone is in the driver’s seat and issue a warning.
However, several recent examples have found that owners seem to be able to let the driving system “drive completely on its own”.
On Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) just arrested another man. Authorities said the man was sitting in the back seat of a Tesla with no one driving in the front seat. The car was traveling on Interstate 80 near Oakland at the time.
In two Florida crashes in 2016 and 2019, cars using self-driving systems, crashed underneath tractor-trailers, killing the man driving the Tesla.
In a 2018 crash in California, an Apple engineer who was using Tesla’s Autopilot system was killed when he crashed into a highway guardrail.
In April, a Tesla crashed into a road tree and burst into flames in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, killing two people in the car. Authorities said no one was in the driver’s seat at the time of the accident, but it was unclear whether Tesla’s driver assistance system was being used. The incident also sparked speculation about whether the owner had activated the Autopilot system and used it improperly.
In addition, there was also a 22-year-old Tesla owner who, while using the driving system, crashed into a police car on Interstate 96 when the police car had its warning lights on. Fortunately, police said neither the officer nor the car owner was injured.
Tesla Executive Director Musk (Elon Musk) said earlier, confident that this year can achieve “fully automated driving” technology.
Since October last year, Tesla has launched a test version of Fully Automated Supplementary Driving (FSD) to a limited number of employees and customers, and Musk has been tweeting about it.
According to Reuters, a memo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles regulator shows that in a March 9 conference call, Tesla self-driving engineers said that Tesla’s self-driving technology is still at Level 2 (requiring driver supervision) and that Musk’s talk of fully automated driving is at Level 5, which cannot be guaranteed by the end of the year.