A Tesla owner involved in an accident on Thanksgiving Day is blaming the company’s Full Self-Driving suite for causing the eight-car pile-up on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.
After the driver’s 2021 Model S was allegedly operating with the Full Self-Driving suite, it malfunctioned, they said. An accident then occurred on I-80 with two juveniles going to a local hospital for the treatment of minor injuries.
Police are still attempting to determine whether the suite actually malfunctioned, was even operational in the first place, or whether the statement the driver made to police was accurate, Reuters said in its report.
A police report said the driver’s Model S made an unsafe lane change and was slowing down to come to a stop when another vehicle hit the Tesla, and subsequent crashes occurred. There is no confirmation that the car was operating on Full Self-Driving.
The NHTSA did not offer a comment on the accident, as the agency could be working with Tesla or law enforcement agencies to determine factors contributing to the crash.
In past accidents involving Tesla vehicles potentially operating with the Full Self-Driving suite, the automaker has been able to clarify some of the situations with data available after the crash.
In an April 2021 accident in Texas involving a Model S in Texas where two people perished, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that Autopilot and Autosteer systems were unable to be engaged on the part of the road where the accident occurred.
These dispelled media narratives blaming Full Self-Driving and Autopilot for the accident.
Despite Tesla’s long-standing status as a company with advanced driver assistance features, it is still commonly misconceived that the cars can drive themselves without any human interaction. However, this is incorrect, and Tesla has maintained that drivers must remain vigilant and pay attention to road conditions and surroundings in case they would have to take over the vehicle.
On its website, Tesla’s FAQ section answers the question, “Do I still need to pay attention while using Autopilot?” The automaker responds:
“Yes. Autopilot is a hands-on driver assistance system that is intended to be used only with a fully attentive driver. It does not turn a Tesla into a self-driving car nor does it make a car autonomous.
Before enabling Autopilot, you must agree to “keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and to always “maintain control and responsibility for your car.” Once engaged, Autopilot will also deliver an escalating series of visual and audio warnings, reminding you to place your hands on the wheel if insufficient torque is applied. If you repeatedly ignore these warnings, you will be locked out from using Autopilot during that trip.
You can override any of Autopilot’s features at any time by steering, applying the brakes, or using the cruise control stalk to deactivate.”
The company also indicates Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving are “are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.”
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