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25 January 2018, 01:47 | Virginia Benson
A Tesla allegedly on Autopilot rams into the back of fire truck
It happened shortly before 9 a.m. while crews were responding to an accident on the 405 Freeway near Washington Boulevard.The union representing Culver City firefighters tweeted that the southbound Tesla driver said he had been using Tesla's Autopilot system, which performs automated driving tasks. Tesla hasn't confirmed whether the auto was on autopilot as the driver claims, but a representative toldSFGate that "autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver". The tweet said that it was incredible that there were no injuries found. Their findings will likely focus less on Autopilot itself and instead become part of a larger investigation into the greater safety issues that semi-autonomous driving systems present.
Moreover, the Autopilot system is not developed to be used with crossing traffic on roads.
The NTSB said Tesla could have taken further steps to prevent the system's misuse, and faulted the driver for not paying attention. In other words, the system is only created to reduce the driver's workload by taking over repetitive and mundane tasks like staying in the lane and avoiding other moving cars.
The fire truck was parked in the carshare lane of the road with its lights flashing.
Tesla has stated that its drivers acknowledge the system is new technology and are told to keep their hands on the wheel. "Autopilot requires full driver engagement at all times".
Traffic detecting cruise control systems by many other vehicle manufacturers also operate this way.
It's unknown whether the Tesla driver was truly negligent while operating in autopilot mode, or if another factor contributed to the accident. KRON, the Bay Area News Network, reports that police say the suspect's blood alcohol content (BAC) was over twice the legal limit, presumably based upon their measurement of that BAC. Quite a few other drivers have lodged complaints regarding this model of vehicle undergoing an accident while on Autopilot Mode. The Model S had been set on autopilot and neither the vehicle nor the driver recognized that a tractor-trailer hauling blueberries had turned onto the divided highway.
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