Tesla infamous Autopilot mode faced its final computation last weekend after it prompted a driver to get directly into the vehicle of a Washington state deputy that was parked by the side of the road.
In A declaration Posted on the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the department said the Tesla caused “significant damage” to the deputy’s vehicle, which was parked on the shoulder of the road at the time. From photos attached to the ministry’s message, it appears the Tesla crashed into the side of the patrol car, denting the rear door and nearly ripping off the driver’s mirror.
According to NBC News, the Tesla driver – who was slapped with a ticket for the crash – just expected his vehicle to detect the deputy’s vehicle and maneuver around it, rather than crashing into it from the side.
He is far from the first to make this kind of mistake. Despite the fact that The Tesla website states that its Autopilot mode requires “active driver supervision” and “does not [these cars] autonomous ”, we have seen many fatal wrecks result from drivers apparently ignoring these warnings. In early 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or NHTSA) opened a formal investigation in more than a dozen Tesla crashes dating back to 2016 that the agency suspects may have involved Autopilot in some way.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s headaches continued until 2021. Last week, NHTSA ad it would be to open a probe in the case of another accident fatal it happened in California earlier this month. While the question of whether or not the driver was on autopilot is still open, the California Highway Patrol came out saying so strongly suspect Maybe it is.
We reached out to Tesla to comment on the Washington crash and will update this article when we know more.