On Friday night, it was reported by the police that a Tesla vehicle that was running on its autopilot software crashed into a stationary truck on the highway and in Pennsylvania. The incident has further ripened the controversy against the automaker’s driver assistance system.
On Monday, the Pennsylvania State police said that the car was travelling in the middle lane when it crashed with the rear end of a freight liner semi truck parked in the same lane, meant to provide traffic control for a right lane closure. According to the police, the vehicle lost control because of being on autopilot, and also added that the 18 year old male driver David Clough was accused of “careless driving”.
The police did not report any injuries in the accident. The automaker Tesla – does not have a public relations department, and neither did it to respond to any request for comments.
As per a report by Penn Live news, “the 2007 freightliner was parked in the middle lane of a I-76 at mile marker 48.8 in Plum to direct traffic around paving work in the right lane. As the freight liner was parked, on autopilot travelling in the middle lane failed to slow or navigate around the work truck and crashed straight into it.”
The accident occurred on Friday, June 23 at approximately 10:25 PM on eastbound interstate 76.
US regulators have been of late criticising and probing a series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles on autopilot that collided with part emergency vehicles. Earlier in this year, Tesla model S struck into a stationary firetruck, and proved to be fatal for the car’s driver, and called for an investigation by the national Highway traffic safety administration. The accident took place in Walnut Creek, California.
In December last year, the traffic regulating agency said that it had opened two new special probes into crashes of Tesla vehicles where advanced driver assistance systems were in play. The regulator normally opens more than hundred special crash probes annually into emerging technologies along with other potential say auto safety issues that have earlier assisted to develop safety rules on airbags.
Older crash investigation reports by NHTSA suggest that auto pilot has been frequently miss used by Tesla drivers, who have been caught driving drunk or even riding in the back seat while a car rolled down them on the highway. Tesla along with other automakers warned that drivers using the systems must be ready to intervene at all times.
The commission is also scrutinising whether Tesla vehicles adequately need drivers to pay attention. Earlier the agency said that according to evidences, drivers in most crashes under probe had complied with Tesla’s alert strategy that enables to bring the driver attention. However, these crashes raise questions about its efficacy.
The autopilot software feature in Tesla cars allow a car is to steer, accelerate and apply brakes automatically within its lane. However, these features need an active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle completely autonomous.