Tesla's Autopilot feature is anything but new to controversy. The recurring theme for most incidents involving car crashes while Autopilot has been engaged is that the drivers have primarily misjudged the capabilities of the feature. And now it seems Tesla and its infamous Autopilot are once again in the spotlight.
On Saturday, December 7, in the early hours of the morning, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a police car and one other vehicle around the area of Interstate 95 in the city of Norwalk. The Model 3's Autopilot mode had been engaged before it hit the police car from the back and then proceeded to crash into a disabled vehicle that the policemen on-site had stopped for.
The owner of the Model 3 claimed that he had engaged Autopilot to check on his dog at the back of the car prior to the crash. But the agency wrote on its Facebook page that:
Regardless of your vehicles capabilities, when operating a vehicle your full attention is required at all times to ensure safe driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although a number of vehicles have some automated capabilities, there are no vehicles currently for sale that are fully automated or self-driving.
This corroborates with Tesla's stance on Autopilot, as the firm recommends vigilance even when Autopilot is engaged.
While no one was severely injured in the crash, the Tesla driver was charged with Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangerment. Moreover, given the controversy surrounding the Autopilot feature, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the accidents caused by it.