A Tesla working in the vehicle’s driver assistance system called autopilot hit a police car in Michigan on March 17, 2021, officials said in a tweet.
Michigan State Police
DETROIT – A Tesla Model Y operating in autopilot hit a police car in Michigan early Wednesday morning, according to official information. Autopilot is Tesla’s driver assistance system that is standard on all newer models.
The Tesla hit an officer’s blue Dodge Charger sedan when soldiers were investigating an accident between a deer and another vehicle at 1:12 a.m. This comes from a post by the Michigan State Police on Twitter. The police car was parked and partially sat in the right lane of a motorway with the emergency lights on, Lt. Brian Oleksyk in an email to CNBC.
The crash is the latest in a series of accidents involving Tesla all-electric cars criticized by vehicle safety advocates and probes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This was also the second collision with a Tesla vehicle in Michigan in the past week.
Officials said the officers or the nameless 22-year-old driver of the Tesla did not suffer any injuries who had been issued quotes for failing to move and drive with a suspended driver’s license. The driver informed the police that, according to Oleksyk, the vehicle was being operated on autopilot. The accident occurred in Eaton County, about 100 miles northwest of Detroit.
NHTSA officials declined to comment on the accident at the time. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The NHTSA previously opened probes for more than a dozen accidents that were believed to have involved Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems such as autopilot.
The latest investigation resulted in a “violent” crash of a Tesla sedan and a truck tractor last week in Detroit. Detroit deputy police chief David LeValley said at a news conference Tuesday that “there are all indications” that the Tesla was not on autopilot at the time of the crash, but the investigation was still ongoing. He quoted statements from the driver and a video showing “evasive maneuvers shortly before the accident”. The NHTSA and Detroit police have not yet examined the vehicle’s data.
Tesla’s systems include a standard autopilot package. A more advanced option, marketed as fully self-driving, is selling for $ 10,000 today. The company’s autopilot and fully self-driving technology make Tesla vehicles inoperable without a driver at the wheel. Some customers who purchase the full self-drive option also get access to a “beta” version to test out the latest features that are added to the system before all bugs are fixed.
The systems can control many aspects of the car, but “active driver monitoring” is required, according to Tesla’s website.
Officials said the officers or the nameless 22-year-old driver of the Tesla, who were quoted as saying about failing to get out and drive with a driver’s license, were not injured.
Michigan State Police
Investigators have yet to say whether Tesla’s autopilot, FSD, or FSD Beta may have contributed to last week’s Detroit crash. However, Tesla autopilot vehicles have collided with stationary objects and large vehicles, including tractor units and fire trucks, on multiple occasions.
A 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner of Lake Worth, Florida died when his Model 3 on autopilot hit the side of a semi-trailer in Florida on March 1, 2019, causing the roof of his car to shear off as it went underneath past.
While Tesla’s autopilot system has changed significantly over the years, it has been under regulatory scrutiny since 2016 when an owner named Joshua Brown died while driving his Tesla Model S on autopilot in Gainesville, Florida. The vehicle also collided with a tractor-trailer.
Another federal vehicle safety watchdog that makes recommendations to the NHTSA, the National Transportation Safety Board, recently called for clear and strict rules for automated driving systems at the federal level. The board pointed to Tesla’s approach to automated driving systems as a reason why stricter safety requirements and clear regulations are needed.