ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A Tesla using its semi-automated driving system crashed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser on a freeway near downtown Orlando on Saturday, narrowly missing its driver, who had stopped to help a disabled person Vehicle to help.
Earlier this month, the U.S. government opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s autopilot driving system following a series of similar collisions with parked ambulances.
The soldier, whose cruiser was hit just before 5 a.m. on Saturday, had his emergency lights activated and was on his way to the disabled vehicle when the Tesla hit the left side of the cruiser and then collided with the other vehicle, the highway police spokeswoman said , Lt. Kim Montes, across from The Orlando Guardian.
The report said the 27-year-old man in the Tesla and the driver of the disabled vehicle suffered minor injuries and the soldier was uninjured.
Tesla did not immediately respond to an email sent to its press address.
Autopilot has been widely abused by Tesla drivers caught drunk behind the wheel or even in the back seat while a car rolled down a California freeway.
The electric vehicle manufacturer uses a camera-based system, lots of computing power, and sometimes radar to spot obstacles, identify obstacles, and then decide what the vehicles should do. However, researchers say it had problems with parked ambulances and vertical trucks on its way.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the Tesla probe after counting 11 accidents since 2018 in which Teslas with autopilot or cruise control struck vehicles where first responders used flashlights, flares, an illuminated arrow sign, or cones to indicate danger to warn.
17 people were injured and one killed in these crashes, the NHTSA said. An investigation could lead to a recall or other enforcement action.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which has also investigated Tesla crashes, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the use of the autopilot to areas where it can be safely operated. It also recommended that Tesla need to improve its system to ensure drivers are paying attention.
Last year, the NTSB blamed Tesla, drivers, and the NHTSA’s lax regulation for two collisions in which Teslas crashed beneath intersecting semi-trailers.
The emergency vehicle accidents cited by the NHTSA began in Culver City, California, near Los Angeles on January 22, 2018 when an autopiloted Tesla hit a parked fire truck with its lights flashing. Nobody was injured in this accident.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.