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Another Tesla S autopilot crash reported

Beijing freeway crash blamed on Tesla autopilot’s failure to avoid broken-down car

Tesla logo10 Aug 2016


ANOTHER Tesla S has been involved in a highway collision while allegedly on autopilot, this time in China on one of Beijing’s ring roads.

Unlike the widely reported crash in the United States in which a Model S driver was killed in a crash with a truck, the damage in the Beijing collision was minor and no injuries were sustained, apparently because the driver grabbed the steering wheel at the last second and turned potential disaster into a glancing blow.

Dash cam video published on leading Chinese automotive website CarNewsChina.com captured the incident, showing the Tesla following an Audi Q5 along the freeway in the left-most of three lanes.

Suddenly, the Audi in front moves right into the middle lane to avoid a broken down Volkswagen Santana parked up against the safety railing but partially blocking the lane as the Tesla bears down.

The driver of the Santana has taken the precaution of placing a reflective warning triangle on the edge of the road, but the Tesla continues on, seemingly without its sensors detecting the car to initiate emergency braking.

The Tesla suddenly veers right, sideswiping the rear mudguard of the Santana before coming to a halt further up the road.

Pictures published by the official ChinaDaily.com show scrape marks on both cars, indicating relatively minor damage.

China Daily quoted the driver as confirming the Tesla was on Autopilot at the time of the crash but failed to automatically follow the vehicle in front into the next lane as it was supposed to.

“My car hit the right side of a black Santana that was stopped in the inner lane of the road after it had developed some mechanical problem,” he reportedly said. “After the collision, I had to manually stop the car, otherwise it would have kept going, as if it had just hit a speed bump.”

Tesla China responded by issuing a statement cautioning that its “semi-automatic” autopilot system, while “the most advanced technology”, was not a full substitute for the role and responsibilities of the driver.

It said Tesla drivers using Autopilot should stay alert and be ready to take over the vehicle at any time.

In the American Tesla crash, the driver was reportedly watching a movie in his car when a semi-trailer apparently turned in front of his car on the highway in Florida in May.

The Tesla crashed under the truck, killing the driver, Joshua Brown.

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