A fatal crash has recently occurred between a Tesla Model S with Autopilot engaged and a tractor trailer. The fatal crash occurred when the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged and a tractor trailer drove across the highway. The company claims it is the first known fatality in over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated.
A fatal crash has recently occurred between a Tesla Model S with Autopilot engaged and a tractor trailer. Autopilot allows Model S to steer within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by using active, traffic-aware cruise control. Autopilot also enables your car to scan for a parking space and parallel park on command. And our new Summon feature lets you “call” your car from your phone so it can come greet you at the front door in the morning.
The fatal crash occurred when the Tesla Model S vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged and a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the vehicle. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. Tesla has reported that the high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.
The company claims it is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles.
Tesla informed NHTSA about the incident immediately after it occurred and NHTSA is opening a preliminary evaluation into the performance of Autopilot during the fatal crash. NHTSA action is a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations.
Tesla has informed that Autopilot is disabled by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled. When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times,” and that “you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it.