A Tesla on autopilot mode crashed with a Patrol cruiser on a highway near downtown Orlando, just missing its driver, who went off the car to assist a damaged vehicle.
In response to a series of similar incidents involving parked emergency vehicles, US authorities launched a formal investigation for Tesla’s Autopilot driving system earlier this month.
The trooper whose cruiser got hit just before 5 a.m. on Saturday had switched on his emergency lights and he was going towards the stopped vehicle when the Tesla collided with the cruiser’s left side, according to Lt. Kim Montes, spokesman for the highway patrol.
According to the story, the 27-year-old Tesla driver and the driver of the damaged vehicle were both injured, while the police officer escaped unhurt.
Tesla did not respond promptly to an email sent to the company’s press address.
Tesla owners have often misused Autopilot, including being caught driving drunk or sitting in the back seat as a car skidded down a California highway.
To identify obstacles, evaluate their nature, and then decide how the cars should behave, the electric car maker employs a camera-based system, a significant amount of computing power, and occasionally radar. However, analysts say that it has faced problems on its path owing to perpendicular trucks and parked emergency vehicles.
The NHTSA opened an inquiry against Tesla after 11 incidents in which Teslas on cruise control or autopilot collided with vehicles while first responders used cones, illuminated arrow boards, flares, or flashing lights to warn of hazards.
According to the NHTSA, the accidents injured 17 people and killed one. An investigation may result in a recall or other kind of enforcement action.
The NTSB, which has also investigated Tesla incidents, has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla limit the use of the autopilot to areas where it can operate safely. Furthermore, it recommended that Tesla be compelled to improve its mechanism for assuring driver attention.
The National Transportation Safety Board chastised Tesla, drivers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for two incidents involving Teslas colliding with crossing tractor-trailers last year.
The first accident involving an emergency vehicle was reported by the NHTSA on January 22, 2018, in California, when a Tesla on autopilot collided with a parked fire truck with flashing lights. There were no injuries as a consequence of the accident.