According to some media reports, a Tesla Model S was involved in an accident in central Minnesota recently. This accident had resulted in minor injuries to the driver and 4 passengers as the vehicle rolled over and into a marsh. The driver, 58-year-old David Clark had blamed Tesla Autopilot the accident initially but later on changed his statement saying the car’s partially self-driving Autopilot system wasn’t responsible for the crash.
Tesla’s Autopilot can autonomously perform a number of functions like automatically maintaining a set speed, slowing down and braking in traffic and keeping the car within a lane. But even when the drivers turn on the system, a message keeps reminding them to remain engaged and be prepared to take the wheel. Drivers can take their hands off the wheel, but only for short periods. The driver is given three warnings if they remove their hands off the steering wheel if they ignore these warnings the system turns off.
Of late, a number of accidents have been blamed on Tesla’s Autopilot but in most cases, Tesla has been able to pull the data logs from the car and show that the driver is responsible for crashes by having ignored alerts or not kept their hands on the steering wheel. Last year, Federal safety regulators had investigated Tesla’s Autopilot after a fatal crash in Florida. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no safety defects in the system and declined to issue a recall.