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An Autopilot car crashes on a parked police car

PICTURE: LAGUNA BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT

A Tesla car has crashed into a parked police car in California. The driver suffered minor injuries and told police she was using the car’s driver-assisting Autopilot mode.

Tesla has said customers are reminded they must “maintain control of the vehicle at all times”.

In a statement, it added: “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel.” The California crash appears to be the latest example of semi-autonomous vehicles struggling to detect stationary objects.

It has also emerged that a Tesla Model 3 driver has blamed Autopilot for a crash in Greece last Friday, in which the car suddenly veered right “without warning”.

“The vigilance required to use the software, such as keeping both hands on the wheel and constantly monitoring the system for malfunctions or abnormal behaviour, arguably requires significantly more attention than just driving the vehicle normally,” he wrote.

It is not the first time the Autopilot feature has been linked to dangerous behaviour. In England, a driver was banned from driving after putting his Tesla in Autopilot on the M1 and sitting in the passenger seat.

The chief executive of Tesla, Elon Musk, has previously complained abut media attention on Tesla crashes. He tweeted: “It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year get almost no coverage.”

His comments received support from prominent academic and psychologist Steven Pinker, who has in the past voiced concerns about Tesla’s Autopilot.

What do you think?

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