Tesla Woes Deepen As Model 3 On Autopilot Crashes Into First-responder’s Vehicle

Another accident took place in Florida on Saturday morning due to the increasingly infamous autopilot failure in Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) electric vehicles.

The accident was the 12th time recorded when a Tesla electric vehicle slammed into another vehicle while on Autopilot mode, the first one since Musk called the feature “actually not great.”

The crash took place near downtown Orlando, where a trooper was responding to a Mercedes Benz GLK 350 which had broken down. According to the police report, the trooper had his emergency lights turned on when the Tesla Model 3 slammed into the car. The EV also damaged the broken down vehicle and according to reports, the crash could’ve resulted in scarier outcomes.

The driver of the Tesla and the broken down Mercedes escaped with minor injuries. According to DailyMail, most of the crashes have involved a parked vehicle with emergency lights blinking. Musk said in a tweet earlier this month that the AI team has been working on improving both Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Full Self Drive to avoid these mishaps.

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association reported 11 crashes where the car has required the assistance of first responders and “subsequently struck one or more vehicles involved with those scenes”. According to the agency, most of the incidents have taken place in low visibility situations while the drivers were using the Autopilot or Traffic-Aware Cruise Control.

“Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones. The involved subject vehicles were all confirmed to have been engaged in either Autopilot or Traffic-Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes,” read the report.

The company is also under fire from two Senators, Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey, who filed a report to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan saying, “Tesla and Mr. Musk’s repeated overstatements of their vehicle’s capabilities – despite clear and frequent warnings – demonstrate a deeply concerning disregard for the safety of those on the road and require real accountability. Their claims put Tesla drivers – and all of the traveling public – at risk of serious injury or death.”

However, Musk had previously denied taking the blame for the crashes passing it on the drivers. He had said, “The people who misuse Autopilot, it’s not because they’re new to it and don’t understand it. The people who first use Autopilot are extremely paranoid about it… If something goes wrong with Autopilot, it’s because someone is misusing it and using it directly contrary to how we’ve said it should be used.”

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