Tesla in ‘full self-driving’ mode responsible for 8-car crash: Driver
The latest incident attributed to Tesla technology, which is under regulatory review, is the crash in San Francisco.
The 2021 Tesla Model S's driver told California police that the car was in "full self-driving mode" when the eight-vehicle disaster on the San Francisco Bay bridge last month was caused by a software error.
Two children were sent to the hospital as a result of the accident on Thanksgiving Day, which also caused significant delays on the bridge. On Wednesday, a police report revealed the occurrence.
This is the most recent in a string of mishaps attributed to Tesla technology. Elon Musk, the CEO of the electric manufacturer, has actively promoted the "Full Self-Driving" (FSD) software, which is available as a $15,000 add-on for Tesla vehicles, but it is being closely analyzed by the legal, regulatory, and public spheres.
The driver informed the police that the FSD software was broken after the accident in San Francisco.
According to the police report, the car was moving at 55 mph when it abruptly changed lanes, slowing to roughly 20 mph. Reuters has also reported that the accident has also resulted in another vehicle hitting the Tesla and a series of collisions.
Police were unable to establish if the program was in use or the veracity of the driver's account, though. Records request led to the report's release to the public.
After Musk promised to make FSD software available to anyone in North America who asked for it, the crash happened shortly after. Prior to this, it only made the system available to drivers with excellent safety ratings.
The driver was responsible for taking manual control if the FSD malfunctioned, according to the police report. Tesla has emphasized time and time again that its cutting-edge self-driving technology necessitates "active driver supervision" and that its cars "are not autonomous."
When installing FSD, drivers are additionally cautioned that it "may do the wrong thing at the worst time."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is looking into Tesla following complaints of "unwarranted, arbitrary, and frequently repeated braking in a single drive," did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the crash in San Francisco.
It is worth noting that the probe was advanced by NHTSA to what it refers to as an engineering examination last summer. Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, questioned if "full self-driving" is an appropriate description of the technology and demanded that Tesla take more precautions to prevent abuse.
Last November, more than 15,000 Tesla electric vehicles in Australia were recalled due to malfunctioning backlights, which regulators say "may raise the risk of an accident resulting in serious injury or death."
Tesla has also been slammed with a recall in the United States, affecting around 30,000 Model X vehicles due to a problem with their front passenger airbag system. In Australia, no analogous recall has been identified.
The company, led by CEO Elon Musk, has also experienced a financial setback, with its stock price dropping to a two-year low earlier this week, down 52% this year.
The drop was precipitated by Tesla's tail-light recall in the United States, as well as continued supply chain difficulties and rising raw-material prices.