Tesla’s Autopilot system is now directly being blamed for a serious accident involving a Model X. We’ve just learned of a third accident in which Autopilot was said to have been engaged, and this time, the driver of the Model X is pointing the finger directly at it.
Tesla’s Autopilot system was already being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration following a fatal accident in Florida which occurred while Autopilot was engaged. Tesla has also been doing its best to downplay another accident involving a Model S which may have had it engaged, saying that it has nothing to prove that Autopilot was to blame for either of the accidents.
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Tesla’s Autopilot blamed for Model X wreck
According to Electrek, this latest accident occurred on a state highway in Whitehall, Montana when a Model X crashed through a guardrail and went off the road. Pictures appear to show that the front passenger side of the hood and the wheel were torn off, although both the driver and passenger were able to escape without serious injury.
A friend of the driver posted pictures of the wrecked car on the Tesla Motors Club forum and described the accident. The person said the Model X was in Autopilot mode and traveling at a speed of 56 to 60 miles per hour when it drove off the road and smashed into the guardrail, which was made of wooden posts.
Is Tesla too early with its Autopilot system?
Based on the forum post, it sounds like the driver claims he was driving with Autopilot on a road that doesn’t have a center divider. This could be a problem for the driver because, according to Electrek, Tesla doesn’t recommend that drivers use the Autopilot’s Autosteer feature on a road that doesn’t have a center divider. Additionally, Tesla’s 7.1 software update places a limit on the speed the Autopilot system will drive to the speed limit of the road, plus 5 miles per hour.
Tesla advises drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times when using the Autopilot feature in their Model S or Model X, but it sounds like drivers are disregarding this advice. This comes as no surprise considering all the YouTube videos we’ve seen of drivers sharing videos of themselves doing things they shouldn’t be doing while Autopilot is on, such as shaving and eating. Clearly the world isn’t ready yet for self-driving cars.