Driver-assistance tech once again surrounded by controversy.
Semi-autonomous driving systems continue to come under the microscope, and the results are mixed. Tesla's Autopilot system is one of the more well-known examples, and while some drivers like this Model 3 owner have faith in the technology, we have seen some disturbing instances of the system potentially leading to serious crashes.
Well, yet another Tesla was involved in a nasty crash and is a reminder that humans and driving aids don't always make a safe combination. The video - recorded by the car's camera system - was shared by GreenTheOnly on Twitter, a hacker who has previously uncovered some of the shortcomings of Tesla's in-car tech. It's not known what Tesla model this was.
In this instance, the short video shared on Twitter shows a Tesla driver hurtling along a California highway at seriously high speeds before rear-ending a Honda Civic. The force of the impact was such that the Civic was sent flying into the air. At this stage, no details are known about whether the occupants of the cars survived the crash or not.
It's the data that GreenTheOnly obtained from the car's black box that makes for interesting - and scary - reading. At the time of the impact, the speed differential between the two cars was an enormous 63 mph and the Tesla was traveling at an insane 136 mph. As the hacker explains, Autopilot disengaged about 40 seconds before the impact due to the forward collision warning chime that was activated. Could it be that the driver somehow wasn't aware of this?
Disturbingly, the data shows that the driver was gaining speed as it approached the Civic. Clearly, the car's automatic emergency braking system was not enabled, which could have prevented the crash. Whether or not the car's safety systems were working as they should, there is no doubt that the driver was reckless, intoxicated, or distracted - or a combination of these factors. There is simply no other excuse for going that fast and slamming into another vehicle on a relatively empty highway.
The accident serves as a harrowing reminder that Level 2 driver-assist systems still require maximum attentiveness from humans to prevent potentially fatal incidents like this from occurring.