Police are investigating a 29 May crash in which the driver of a Tesla Model S car struck a parked police vehicle in Laguna Beach, California, at 11:07 a.m. local time. The police cruiser, though unoccupied, was damaged when the Tesla’s front end rammed into the rear driver’s side of the patrol car.
The driver of the 2015 Model S car, who suffered minor injuries, told investigators that the car was in autopilot. According to a Tesla spokesperson, “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.”
Tesla told Infosecurity Magazine the company has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents. “Before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings,’” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
Many Twitter users have weighed in on the crash, expressing both defense of Tesla and concern over the expectations of what autopilot is actually capable of. In response to news of the crash, one person tweeted, “IMO, Tesla tech gives a driver an invaluable 2nd set of eyes that make the car way safer than most … BUT it seems the pattern emerging is drivers believing they purchased a chauffeur ! – driver aid NOT driver replacement.”
In related news, another Tesla owner endured a crash in Seattle, Washington, yesterday. While the company continues crash tests for the Tesla Model 3, electrek reported that the owner of a Model 3 was rear-ended yesterday but said that the car “performed miraculously.”
In his story of the crash published on Tesla Motor Club, the car owner, known as Anatari, wrote that he was traveling along the I-90 tunnel at 65 mph when he was hit from behind by another vehicle. Anatari said he lost control of the car.
The car then spun out of control and hit the freeway divider wall, “all the way on the other side of the freeway 4 lanes across, and then bouncing back all the way back to the other side of the freeway and hitting that wall before coming to a stop.
“Thankfully the model 3 performed miraculously, crumple zones compressed, airbags deployed, no fire after the accident, and no one in my family seems to be seriously injured.”