A Tesla Model X driver claims the electric SUV he was driving in Middlesex County, New Jersey veered off a motorway and crashed due to an issue with Autopilot.
NJ reports that the driver told police that he was unable to override the semi-autonomous driving system as it ran off the road and sustained extensive damage. Authorities haven’t charged the driver with any offences and didn’t say why the driver thought Autopilot had malfunctioned.
“The vehicle could have gone straight or taken the Adams Lane exit, but instead split the difference and went down the middle, taking the vehicle off the roadway and striking several objects at the roadside. The (Tesla owner) states that he tried to regain control of the vehicle, however it would not let him,” police said in a report.
This story is far from over…
After being informed about the incident, Tesla issued a response stating that there hasn’t been a single recorded instance where Autopilot failed to disengage.
“Safety is the top priority at Tesla, and we engineer and build our cars with this in mind. We also ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles, including following the car’s instructions for remaining alert and present when using Autopilot and to be prepared to take control at all times. A driver can easily override Autopilot by lightly touching the steering wheel or brakes.
“Moreover, the brakes have an independent bypass circuit that cuts power to the motor no matter what the Autopilot computer requests and the steering wheel has enough leverage for a person to overpower the electric steering assist at all times. Since we launched Autopilot in 2015, we are not aware of a single instance in which Autopilot refused to disengage,” Tesla’s statement read.
As it typically the case with incidents of this sort, Tesla will most likely analyze data from the crashed Model X to determine the cause of the crash.