Tesla self-drive car involved in fatal accident

Whilst the likes of Google are testing out fully automated vehicles, there’s a selection of cars out on the road now that’ll add a certain degree of “self driving” tech. Normally, the system works on major highways / motorways and, by taking note of the lane markers and the position of other vehicles, it can keep you in a straight line on major roads – even changing lane if you indicate.

We’ve seen the Tesla system in action in an earlier video, where a driver faffs about browsing the internet while his car hurtles along. It’s a scary thing really, and after my many years working with servers and infrastructure kit I can safely say that nothing can be relied on 100%.

Tesla self drive car involved in fatal accident

The Tesla “Autopilot” feature was active in May on a Model S owned by Joshua Brown. Unfortunately, a large truck with a white trailer pulled into the lane and the system couldn’t “see” it because of a brightly-lit sky. The result, sadly, was a terrible accident and Mr Brown died from his injuries.

Mr Brown has previously posted dash-cam footage of the Tesla system avoiding accidents, but in this case the Tesla tech was unable to detect the impending danger. A statement from the company reads..

The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.

We’ve seen many videos where Tesla drivers use the Autopilot function and, relying on it heavily, happily do “other things” in the car. Chief Executive, Elon Musk, stated that the driver “cannot abdicate responsibility”.