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Old-school Autopilot Users are Still Crashing for the Same Reasons


We’ve covered a number of accidents involving Tesla’s nifty but not fully-autonomous Autopilot system already — some unfortunate, one fatal, but mostly just embarrassing.

This video, shot months after Tesla founder Elon Musk hammered home the technology’s limitations as investigations swirled, shows a crash that falls into the latter category. It also perfectly showcases the technological and human failings that have led to Autopilot-related crashes.


The video (which can be seen here), shot on the Sam Rayburn Tollway near Dallas, depicts a Model S driver who shared his tale of automotive woe on Reddit a few days ago.

Coasting merrily along in the left lane of the highway, the vehicle’s sensors — which had done a great job keeping the Tesla between the lines — fail to recognize, or at least take any evasive action, when construction barriers gradually cause the lane to disappear. A big crunch ensues.


The semi-autonomous system demands the presence of an alert driver poised to take over at any moment. In the past, we’ve seen circumstances crop up where the vehicle fails to “see” an obstacle. It’s no different here. In this case, according to the driver, the Tesla’s collision warning and emergency braking systems failed to activate.

“The car is AP1 and I’ve never had any problems until today,” the driver wrote on Reddit. “Autopilot was on didn’t give me a warning. It misread the road and hit the barrier. After the airbags deployed there was a bunch of smoke and my car rolled to a grinding stop. Thankfully no one was hurt and I walked away with only bruises.”

Also failing to activate was the driver, who should have been aware of an obstacle in the road ahead and taken evasive action.

[Images: suryarajesh17/Instagram]

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