Tesla’s electric cars, equipped with Autopilot as vehicle assistance system that can detect and evade obstacles, are one of the most advanced passenger vehicles available across the world. But despite its cutting-edge technology, the carmaker has not escaped its stare of controversies.
Recently, a Tesla Model 3 car was seen crashing into an overturned truck on a highway in Taiwan. Videos captured by passerby vehicles and CCTV show the car moving at around 110 kmph on the same lane where the truck lay overturned. Then it rams into the vehicle as the driver of the truck watched standing on the side of the road waiting for assistance.
It wasn’t as if there was any low visibility or blind spots to blame for the accident. The truck lay straight in line of the vehicle’s vision. Questions are raised how the driver or the vehicle missed the obvious obstacle right in front of it.
According to reports, the driver who escaped with minor injuries, was expecting the Tesla Model 3 to detect the obstacle and break in time before it crashed. He reportedly had the vehicle assist system turned on before this happened.
This is not the first time that Tesla’s Autopilot system has been blamed for a crash. The Tesla Autopilot is a safety-focused driver assistance system that requires driver attention at all times. In March, the US road safety watchdog NHTSA blamed Tesla Autopilot for a fatal crash in Florida last year.
(Also read: Tesla to take Autopilot to next level with sensor halts at signals, stop signs)
In its report, the NHTSA said the design of the Autopilot system contributed to the crash because it allowed the Tesla driver to avoid paying attention. Tesla also failed to limit where Autopilot can be used, allowing drivers to activate it in areas it wasn’t designed for, the report said.
The March 1, 2019, crash in Delray Beach, Florida, killed the 50-year-old driver of a Tesla Model 3. The car was traveling 69 miles per hour (111 kilometers per hour) when neither the driver nor the Autopilot system braked or tried to avoid a tractor-trailer that was crossing in its path on US 441 around 6:17 am. The car struck the trailer, whose driver the report cited for turning in front of the Tesla. The trailer sheared off the Tesla's roof. The truck driver was not hurt.