Tesla Autopilot implicated in another emergency-vehicle crash

Police Sgt. Jim Cota says the officer was not in the cruiser during the crash Tuesday in Laguna Beach. He says the Tesla driver suffered minor injuries

Tesla in Autopilot Mode Crashes into Police Car

A Tesla Model S veered into a parked police cruiser Tuesday, severely damaging both vehicles in Laguna Beach, Calif., a coastal community south of Los Angeles.

The driver suffered minor injuries, Laguna Beach Sergeant Jim Cota said, who posted photos of the crash scene showing extensive damage to the front end of the Tesla and the rear side of the police vehicle.

Tesla has said the use of Autopilot results in 40 percent fewer crashes, a claim the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration repeated in a 2017 report on the first fatality, which occurred in May 2016.

According to Cota, a Tesla on autopilot crashed into a semi-truck at the same location last April.

The crash comes as Tesla has been facing scrutiny involving Autopilot. "Why do these vehicles keep doing that?" he told the LA Times. Cota said. "We're just lucky that people aren't getting injured".

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"Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the auto impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that 'Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings'".

Autopilot is a semi-autonomous technology that the company says is a form of advanced cruise control.

In March, a Model X crashed into a highway barrier in California.

The driver, a 65-year-old from Laguna Niguel, Calif., told officers that he had engaged the car's partial self-driving system, called Autopilot. However, there's a definite trend emerging of Tesla vehicles colliding with stationary vehicles, which raises obvious questions about the system's real-world safety, and whether Tesla needs to do more to ensure drivers aren't overly reliant on a system that they describe as being in beta.

Tesla's report said on the March Autopilot crash: "The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver's hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision".

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