Tesla in Autopilot Mode Crashes Into Police Car

Virginia Carson
May 30, 2018

A Tesla sedan set to autopilot mode crashed into a parked Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle in Laguna Beach, Calif., authorities said.

The police vehicle was unoccupied at the time, and the Tesla driver received minor injuries, police said, adding that the crash was reported to the department around 11 a.m.

The police SUV ended up with its two passenger-side wheels on a sidewalk.

A Tesla in semi-autonomous mode hit a semi-truck in the exact same area previous year, and police say they're looking into whether lane markings or other features in the area are creating difficulties for the technology.

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Tesla's owners manuals state that the Enhanced Autopilot mode, which partially automates steering and braking, isn't meant to completely take over the role of a human driver, and warns that drivers must still keep their hands on the wheel and pay attention.

For its part, Tesla reiterated that it "continuously" reminds Autopilot users that they need to keep their hands on the steering wheel.

The crash happened Tuesday morning on Laguna Canyon Road.

The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but the driver of the S already claims not to be at fault and pins the guilt on the car's Autopilot system. The police department vehicle was empty at the time of the collision, while the driver of the Model S sustained minor injuries, Cota wrote. Tesla's autopilot system uses sensors, cameras, and radar to study the vehicle's surroundings and carry out automatic functions which include emergency braking.

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Tesla says on its website the Autpilot function is designed 'to detect objects that the auto may impact and applies the brakes accordingly'.

Tesla founder Elon Musk complained about the press coverage Tesla crashes are receiving earlier this month.

A 28-year-old Utah woman was driving in Autopilot earlier this month when she slammed her Tesla Model S into the back of a stopped fire truck while cruising at about 60 miles per hour, police said. In January, a Model S crashed into a parked fire truck in California while on autopilot.

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