Further proof that fully autonomous cars are still years away.
A Tesla Model S driver is lucky to be alive after he rear-ended a parked fire truck on the highway in Calvert City, California. In what has become a growing trend, the cause of the accident was the misuse of the car's semi-autonomous Autopilot.
While working a freeway accident this morning, Engine 42 was struck by a #Tesla traveling at 65 mph. The driver reports the vehicle was on autopilot. Amazingly there were no injuries! Please stay alert while driving! #abc7eyewitness #ktla #CulverCity #distracteddriving pic.twitter.com/RgEmd43tNe
— Culver City Firefighters (@CC_Firefighters) January 22, 2018
This system is designed with both safety and convenience in mind, but Tesla still warns against taking your attention from the road even when Autopilot is engaged. The system does seem to have reduced the severity of the impact as the pre-collision speed was estimated at 65 mph, while the damage does not seem to be as you might imagine for a car rear ending a parked fire truck at full speed.
Miraculously, nobody was seriously injured in the crash as the driver of the Tesla refused treatment at the scene.
According to a report, the fire engine was blocking two lanes of Interstate 405 with its lights on tending to another crash when the accident occurred. The image posted to the Culver City Fire Department's Twitter page shows significant damage to the front of the Tesla; the report says that the fire truck was damaged enough that it needed to be taken out of service for repairs.
Just days before this incident, another Model S driver was found passed out behind the wheel with blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit. He apparently thought that Autopilot would autonomously get him back to his house, even though he was legally drunk.
Bloomberg reports that the NTSB is now looking into the fire truck collision incident.
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