A video of a Tesla Model 3 crashing into a truck on the highway while reportedly being on Autopilot went viral.
The incident happened in Taiwan, a truck rolled over to its side on the highway, leaving the roof of its box exposed to upcoming traffic. A Tesla Model 3 owner reportedly driving with some Autopilot driver-assist features didn’t see the truck and the safety feature didn’t stop a collision. The electric vehicle slammed into the truck at highway speed.
The accident was caught on security cameras and it went viral on social media:
Tesla shorts have been using the accident as evidence that the automaker’s Autopilot system is unsafe:
Tesla Model 3 plows info overturned truck on highway. I’m sure the driver was paying complete attention to the road and wasn’t relying on autopilot because he was told the car could drive itself….hand washing rooster 🐓 (@jsin86524368)
However, they don’t note the most important thing, which is that the Tesla driver is reportedly uninjured.
The local media reported (translated):
It can be seen from the picture that the impact force is so great that even the truck shakes. It is understood that the Tesla driver was unharmed. He confessed to the police that the auxiliary system was turned on at the time, and the self-driving state was not adopted. There is no drunk driving situation, and the relevant transcripts have been completed so far, and the two parties have to face the subsequent compensation matters.
It’s unclear what is meant by “the auxiliary system was turned on at the time, and the self-driving state was not adopted,” but it is believed that the Model 3 had at least some Autopilot features activated at the time of the crash.
In the video, it also appears that the driver or the emergency automatic braking system applied the brakes at the last second based on brake skid smoke appearing a moment before the crash.
It would be nice if Autopilot’s automatic emergency braking system would prevent accidents like that, but it doesn’t always work, and there’s no substitute for paying attention at all times.
Tesla is constantly improving its Autopilot features, but it still asks drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and pay attention at all times every time they activate the features, which ultimately means that the driver is at fault here.
The most important thing is that he is apparently uninjured, which is nothing short of a miracle after a crash like that. It looks like the roof of the bed acted as a great crumple zone.
Automatic emergency braking may have also played a role here in reducing the force of the impact, but it’s not clear if it was the system or the driver who applied the brakes at the last second.
The reason why Tesla and other vehicles on driver-assist features hit stationary objects on the road while at highway speed like that is due to them trying to reduce the number of false-positive braking events.
It will improve over time, but it’s a good reminder that drivers have to stay attentive and ready to take control at all times.