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File photo of a Tesla vehicle used for representational purpose only
File photo of a Tesla vehicle used for representational purpose only

Tesla vehicle using partially automated driving system slams into police car

  • The driver of the police cruiser escaped unhurt while the Tesla driver and the driver of a disabled vehicle sustained injuries.

  • Researchers have highlighted that the Tesla autopilot has had trouble identifying parked emergency vehicles and perpendicular trucks in their path.

A Tesla electric car, with its automated driving system partially activated, slammed into a police patrol car near downtown Orlando, US. The patrol car had pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle and when the Tesla vehicle slammed into it, the police driver narrowly missed being hit. 

The driver of the patrol cruiser had also activated its emergency lights while on the way to the disabled vehicle when the Tesla hit its left side.

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The latter then collided with the disabled vehicle. While the police escaped unhurt, the drivers of the Tesla and the disabled vehicle suffered minor injuries.

(Also  read | Tesla CEO Elon Musk says latest self-driving update ‘not great’)

This adds to another crash involving a Tesla autopilot system and will add to the problems already being faced by the electric vehicle maker. Earlier this month, the US National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration (NHTSA) agency opened a probe into 11 car crashes since 2018 that involved Tesla electric cars using their Autopilot systems.  These crashes have injured 17 people and killed one.

Often, Tesla drivers have been caught driving drunk or sleeping in the back while the autopilot is put to the work, assuming that it will take care of driving on its own. However, time and again, it has been highlighted, even by Tesla, that the autopilot system requires human attention at all times.

Tesla electric vehicles make use of camera-based system, computing power and radar to spot obstacles and determine what they are. However, researchers have brought to notice that the autopilot has had trouble identifying parked emergency vehicles and perpendicular trucks in its path.

Recently, two US senators wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to probe EV maker Tesla's use of “deceptive marketing practices" as it calls its driver-assistance systems as ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ (FSD). They wrote that Tesla “has repeatedly overstated the capabilities of its vehicles, and these statements increasingly pose a threat to motorists and other users of the road".

(With inputs from the Associated Press)

  • First Published Date : 29 Aug 2021, 09:51 AM IST