A Tesla Model S traveling at 65 mph crashed into a stationary fire truck in
California last week. The driver of the vehicle, who was reportedly unharmed
by the accident, allegedly claimed that the electric car was on Autopilot
when the collision happened although authorities would not confirm if the
Tesla had indeed been on Autopilot.
The firefighters could not be sure if the Tesla had slowed down in the
moments before it hit the fire truck, however as there was extensive damage
to the car it appears the Model S was moving at a fairly high speed before
In a statement to The Mercury News, Culver City Fire Department battalion
chief Ken Powell explained that the accident was quite severe, with the
entire front of the Tesla Model S crushed as a result of the impact although
the driver of the vehicle was able to walk away from the accident unharmed
not requiring treatment. The fire engine had been parked in an emergency
lane and carpool lane, blocking off a previous accident, with a CHP vehicle
behind it and to the side, Powell said.
Reactions to the incident were that the accident might have been caused by
driver error as Tesla's Autopilot system is an advanced driver-assistance
system that does not provide fully autonomous features and so the driver
could have intervened to prevent the crash.
Since the debut of Autopilot, Tesla has strongly urged drivers that the
system is only intended to be used as a way to aid the driver. The Model S
also has several fail-safes in its software system, with the electric car
engaging numerous visual and auditory warnings when it senses too little
interaction from the driver.