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 the collision.
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.
The Tesla Model S is one of the safest vehicles on the road. Due to the construction of the vehicle and the absence of a gas-powered engine, the luxury electric sedan has a large crush zone in its front. Its low center of gravity also prevents the vehicle from rolling over easily. Despite being a safe vehicle, however, the Model S and its Autopilot system met with tragedy in 2016, when Tesla owner Joshua Brown collided with a truck near Williston, Florida in a fatal accident. Nevertheless, Brown's family eventually released a statement, saying that they do not blame the car for the loss of Joshua's life, as there was a vital window of time when the Model S owner was not able to notice the truck his car was heading into.
Source and top image: Teslerati
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