None of Tesla’s cars are fully capable of driving themselves, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the packages they offer-more specifically the names of said packages, one of them being “Full Self-Driving.” As it seems, it’s too profitable to blur the lines of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) like Autopilot. And because of that, preventable crashes involving the tech will continue to happen, though fortunately for those involved in this month’s completely avoidable Autopilot crash, the only victims were a couple of emergency response vehicles… and a Tesla owner’s insurance premiums.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Twitter, authorities were responding to a crash on eastbound Interstate 10 when an errant Tesla rear-ended the Arizona State Troopers’ police cruiser in a scenario that is starting to sound familiar. The impact pushed the Chevrolet Tahoe squad car into the back of an ambulance on the scene, jarring the occupants of the latter vehicle but not injuring them. As the State Trooper Sergeant was not in their vehicle at the time, they too escaped injury.
The Tesla’s 23-year-old driver from Irvine, California was less fortunate, and reportedly sustained “serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.” Before being hospitalized for treatment, the driver admitted to State Troopers on the scene that the Tesla was in Autopilot at the time of the collision, making the incident echo a similar crash between a Model 3 and an overturned box truck in early June. This time around, however, authorities opened an investigation into the driver, whom they suspect may have been driving under the influence.
Arizona’s Department of Public Safety used the incident to plead drivers to obey move-over laws, which mandate that drivers switch lanes to give emergency responders of all kinds space to safely clear road hazards. Situations like this, of course, just add to the growing list of edge cases that ADAS systems like Autopilot must recognize and respond to-especially given the correlation between ADAS systems and driver distraction.