Another Tesla vehicle crashed while operating in Autopilot mode, according to the car's driver. The latest crash occurred on July 1, just two days after US regulators announced that they were investigating the first fatality in a wreck involving a car in self-driving mode. Image: AP
The latest crash involved a Tesla Model X, the more spacious variant of the Model S, about 160km outside of Pittsburgh. According to a Detroit Free Press report, the driver said in a police report that he activated the vehicle's Autopilot feature before it hit the right-side guard rail, crossed over both lanes, hit a concrete median then flipped onto its roof. All passengers in the vehicle survived the crash.
The driver, Albert Scaglione, must have had complete confidence in his vehicle's ability to "see" the road ahead. He used the Autopilot in an area known for being difficult to navigate. According to the Detroit Free Press reporter Greg Gardner, "Anyone who has driven on the Pennsylvania Turnpike knows that its narrow shoulders and concrete medians leave little margin for driver error."
The Pennsylvania State Policeman who responded to the crash said he will likely cite Scaglione after the investigation surrounding the crash is complete. For now, the police report is largely based off the diver's first-hand account and witnesses to the crash.
This is just the latest incident of its kind. One week ago, a man died after his Tesla Model S hit a truck while in Autopilot mode. The man was reportedly watching a Harry Potter movie when it happened.
Exactly why these crashes continue to occur remains unknown. Our friends over at Jalopnik suggest that the Model S has a large, important blind spot above the car's hood that could have been responsible for the first autopilot fatality.
We reached out to Tesla for comment and a Tesla spokesperson sent the following statement:
We have no data to suggest that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident. Anytime there is a significant accident, Tesla receives a crash detection alert. As is our practice with all collisions, we immediately reached out to the customer to make sure he was safe. Until the customer responds, we are unable to further investigate.