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Tesla using "Autopilot" crashes into police car

By James Robinson, 21 Mar 2021 Car News

Tesla using “Autopilot” slams into stationary police car in America

Yet to be confirmed if driver was taking part in Full Self-Driving Beta

A Michigan State police officer was left shocked and lucky to be alive this week, after a Tesla reportedly in Autopilot mode slammed into a stationary Dodge Charger police car on a busy Michigan highway. 

The officer had been attending the scene of another accident involving a car and a deer, and his vehicle was partially blocking the right-hand lane of the highway.

The police vehicle’s lights were on and flashing, yet, allegedly, neither the car nor its 22-year-old driver made any attempt to stop before crashing into the vehicle at speed.

The driver, who wasn’t injured in the heavy collision, claimed his Tesla was on Autopilot mode at the time of the incident, and his lack of intervention would indicate he had not been paying attention in the moments before the crash. 

Both vehicles were written-off in the smash, with the Charger’s rear end completely caved in and the Tesla’s front right side crushed.

The driver of the Tesla was cited for failing to avoid the crash and for driving on a suspended licence. 

Details remain unclear as to what model the pummelled Tesla was, but judging from the crash photos it was either the Model 3 sedan or recently released Model Y mid-size SUV.

Another unanswered question is whether or not the driver of the Tesla was utilising the nascent semi-autonomous Full Self-Driving Beta software.

Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have come under fire in recent weeks, as his FSD Beta software, despite its misleading name, is only a level two autonomous program. 

That means the vehicle’s operator is required to remain engaged and at the wheel at all times when running the system.

As WhichCar reported last week, the software’s name is so misleading that Tesla’s general counsel had to send a letter to the California Department of Motor Vehicles' head of Autonomous Vehicles, which read: 

“Currently neither Autopilot nor FSD Capability is an autonomous system, and currently no comprising feature, whether singularly or collectively, is autonomous or makes our vehicles autonomous."

MORE: All Tesla stories