Tesla: Bad suspicion in autopilot crashes – authorities determined

US agency
Tesla apparently uses tricks to evade liability in autopilot accidents

That was a Tesla. It seems that head-on vehicle crashes have a peculiarity: the autopilot should automatically deactivate shortly before.

© FrankHoermann / SVEN SIMON / / Picture Alliance

Accidents with activated autopilot raise questions: Who is responsible? And how do accident statistics change? Tesla apparently wants to avoid these annoying questions, with a cheeky trick.

Autopilots are seen as the future of driving: the car drives itself, the driver can relax. If all goes smoothly, it sounds good. But if the vehicle causes an accident, what happens then? Who is to blame for the accident, who has to pay, how are the insurance statistics changing?

These questions are currently being asked mostly by Tesla customers, because the US automaker is relatively advanced with its version of autopilot and loves to advertise the feature. For example, Teslas can already be summoned to parking lots and thus lead all the people on board to the driver. It should also continue in free traffic, but so far the developers have lagged behind Elon Musk’s ideas of a fully autonomous car. However, Tesla apparently wants to pass on the annoying questions from the previous paragraph to customers.

US authorities: Tesla turned off autopilot shortly before the accident

According to a report from the NHTSA, autopilot shut down in at least 16 Tesla vehicles shortly before an accident. Notably, the vehicles only drove for less than a second WITHOUT autopilot before the accident occurred, too little time for the driver to be able to react. The prerequisite: the car is responsible for the accident, but it shouldn’t bear the consequences.

According to NHTSA, the agency began investigating why Tesla had a record of accidents involving first responders’ vehicles parked on the side of the road. Eleven questionable cases were initially uncovered and, in the course of the investigation, investigators eventually added six more incidents. One of these was later removed from the list because the other vehicle involved would have been parked out of traffic with no lights. In most of the crashes, the collision warning assistant worked, and in half of the crashes the brake assistant worked too.

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But another fact is striking: on average, the autopilot deactivated less than a second before the actual accident. No statement has yet been released by Tesla.

Sources:NHTSA, “motor sport”


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