Tesla Autopark reliability questioned by Model S owner after bumper scrape

Philippe Marseille may not be trusting his Tesla’s Autopark feature anymore after the system guided his Model S into the rear bumper of a GMC pickup truck while attempting to parallel park. According to Marseille via his post on Reddit, “I initiated auto-park (parallel park), on the left of a one-way street. Car started the maneuver then hit the front bumper on the corner of the plastic part of the truck’s bumper. Met the truck owner a few minutes later, he basically had no damages – I scraped on the black plastic part of his bumper… did not hit any chrome. We exchanged contact info and he felt sorry for me…”

Unlike some drivers who have had issues with Autopilot lately — like the driver in Texas who admits he was busy cleaning the dashboard of his car when his Model S missed a curve and crashed into a guardrail — Marseille was paying close attention during the Autopark maneuver. He noticed the situation getting out of hand and attempted to bring the car to a halt, but it was too late. The damage was already done.

Did this happen because the truck’s rear bumper was too high off the ground and the ultrasonic sensors were unable to detect it? We can see through the photo that the damage took place a few inches above the ultrasonic sensors which could explain the reason why the vehicle failed to detect the truck’s bumper.

Model S damaged during Autopark maneuver

Ever since Joshua Brown was killed in a collision with a tractor trailer on a Florida highway, there have been questions about the ability of Tesla’s Autopilot system to reliably detect objects, especially that of humans. However, Tesla is said to be on the verge of introducing hardware updates for its next-generation Autopilot 2.0 suite of features. Just don’t expect a complex and expensive LIDAR system to be a part of it.

Several people responding to Mr. Marseille’s plight wondered whether Tesla would step up to the plate to cover the repairs to his car, considering he appears to have done nothing wrong and the car’s Autopark feature failed to recognize a fairly large object in the path of its self parking trajectory.

Photo: Model S damaged during Autopark maneuver via Philippe Marseille
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