Since it was introduced in 2014, Tesla’s self-drive feature has faced a lot of criticism over issues ranging from the effect it could have on the environment to potential safety risks.
Just days after almost 363 thousand Tesla cars were recalled due to an issue with the advanced driver assistance feature, known as “Full Self-Driving Beta”, a report has been released that a crash has taken place in California involving a Tesla vehicle.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the accident involved a Tesla crashing into a firetruck parked on the freeway.
In the crash, the Tesla Model S vehicle hit the truck, which was parked in one lane of the freeway to protect emergency services responding to an incident. The car didn’t change lanes to avoid the truck.
The NHTSA is now investigating the incident and has asked for more information from both Tesla and the authorities in Califonia. The agency recently warned that in some cases, cars with self-drive technology could violate state and local traffic laws due to the increased risks.
The reports show that it’s currently not clear what the cause of the accident was and if the car was in self-driving mode. However, data released by U.S. safety regulators show that automated driver-assist systems have caused 392 accidents in the last 11 months and Tesla crashes accounted for 70% of those reported.
Tesla cars have grown in popularity in recent years. In 2022, despite major supply chain issues, the company delivered more than 310,000 electric cars in the first quarter – a new record.
But, experts continue to issue warnings about the safety risks. For example, over-reliance on autopilot and driver assist systems can mean drivers become more trusting, and therefore distracted and not engaged with what’s happening on the road.
By trusting the car’s AI algorithms alone, it can create enormous safety risks. Most people agree that human drivers can still react much faster in unpredictable or unexpected situations.