Published: Thu, January 25, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Tesla Car On Autopilot Smashes Into Parked Fire Truck

Tesla Car On Autopilot Smashes Into Parked Fire Truck

It's the same with this latest situation reported by the Culver City Firefighters via Twitter involving one of their fire engines and a Tesla Model S.

The auto had been travelling at 65mph before the accident near Los Angeles, Culver City firefighters union said.

A Tesla spokesperson told the Chronicle that the car's autopilot is meant to be used "only with a fully functioning driver". "Amazingly there were no injuries". While truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear.

In its owner's manual, Tesla repeatedly warns drivers to pay attention to the road while using the semi-autonomous Autopilot system. The company did not confirm that autopilot had actually been used by the driver. The autopilot system is created to get a driver's attention if it detects a challenging situation and brings the vehicle to a stop if a driver does not respond. While evidence revealed the Tesla driver was not attentive to the driving task, investigators could not determine from available evidence the reason for his inattention. Other automakers, including Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and BMW, have designed identical systems that helps reduce and increase speed of the vehicle automatically to stay with the flow of traffic and also assists the driver to keep the auto in its lane on the highway.

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In a separate incident over the weekend, a man was arrested and charged with a DUI after police discovered him passed out behind the wheel of a Tesla vehicle travelling in autopilot mode on the Bay Bridge in California. Since then, Tesla has also updated its "autopilot" system.

No one was hurt, but the accident is being investigated by a team from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This is not the first time a Tesla on "autopilot" has been involved in an accident.

As the news got featured by various mainstream media outlets due to the autonomous feature of the vehicle, Tesla responded with the following statement. The Model S had been set on autopilot and neither the vehicle nor the driver recognized that a tractor-trailer hauling blueberries had turned onto the divided highway.

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