Tesla Model S Driver Rams Into A Nissan SUV Despite Autopilot’s Warning
This is the latest Autopilot crash; but it wasn’t the system’s fault. A couple, who was too busy engrossed in something else other than focusing on the road, rear-ended a Nissan SUV despite the system warning and chiming its brains out. How can one trust a machine blindly?
Sending Your Tesla Model S Airborne is Probably Not The Best Idea in The World
A 46-year-old man from Ontario, Canada was charged with dangerous driving after sending his 2016 Tesla Model S airborne as a result of driving too fast for his own good. Local CCTV footage, as well as dashcam videos, captured the Model S doing its best Fast and the Furious impersonation, traveling through the air for almost 100 feet before gravity took hold of it and sent it back down to earth. The Model S may have stuck its landing, but the driver was unable to regain control of the car, which managed to skid across a highway, hopped a curb, careened into a school parking lot, and hit a tree.
West Wing Actress Not Happy With Tesla After her Husband’s Model S Catches on Fire
The Husband of a “West Wing” actress Mary McCormack was sitting in traffic when his Tesla Model S suddenly begin to spew fire from underneath the driver’s side. He was flagged by another driver and pulled over, avoiding any injury, but the actress has decided to play the drama card and send a little heat Tesla’s way.
Tesla Model S, Apparently On ’Autopilot,’ Crashes Into Culver City Fire Truck At High Speed
One unlucky driver down in Southern California found the limits of their Tesla’s Autopilot system this week when it rear-ended a stationary fire truck on the freeway. The incident was documented on social media in a post by the Culver City Firefighter’s Twitter account: “While working a freeway accident this morning, Engine 42 was struck by a Tesla traveling at 65 mph. The driver reports the vehicle was on autopilot,” the post reads. “Amazingly, there were no injuries! Please stay alert while driving!”
Lucky indeed. The fire truck’s rear end is a bit out of shape, but nothing major by the look of it – just a few broken taillights and a slight bend to the rear platform. The Tesla, however, looks like it’s toast, with the entire front end bunched up in a twist of metal and broken parts. We’re also a little incredulous about the whole “65 mph” claim, as something tells us the automatic braking brought the speed down substantially. Either way, kudos to Tesla for making such a safe car. Without that huge crumple zone up front, who knows what would have happened to the driver.
This is just the latest in a series of auto accidents involving the Tesla Autopilot system. We don’t know for sure if the driver is outright blaming the technology for the crash, but either way, it certainly seems like an easy way to absolve yourself of responsibility.
Of course, Tesla is quick to point out that running Autopilot doesn’t mean relinquishing control of the car. Although it does have the potential to one day reach full autonomy status, Autopilot is basically just glorified cruise control at this point. Drivers must still remain in control of their vehicle at all times. That said, the convenience and power of Autopilot seems to be leading to distracted driving and misconceptions about the system’s intended use.
Tesla Employee Crashes Model 3, Charged with DUI After Run-in with a Deer
A Tesla employee found himself in hot water after crashing a Model 3 in California. Adding insult to injury, the man, identified as 38-year-old Colin Flynn, was also charged with DUI.
Flynn’s harrowing adventure occurred in the early morning of Saturday, January 13. According to police reports, the Tesla employee overshot a turn on a road in Morgan Hill, California, sending the car flying around 70 feet before crashing into the far bank of Coyote Creek.
Local police arrived shortly afterwards to find Flynn, unhurt from the crash. The Tesla told the police that the crash occurred after he swerved to avoid a deer, and not because he reeked of alcohol smell. The police asked him to take a breathalyzer test, and when he refused, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and transported to the local precinct. Once there, Flynn also refused to have blood work done, as required by California law in cases like this. That discretion earned him a charge of obstruction. It wasn’t until officers obtained a search warrant that Flynn decided to cooperate.
As for the Model 3, the electric car was eventually removed from the creek after spending a few hours retrieving it. Authorities also advised all drivers to keep a lookout for the deer that supposedly caused Flynn to fly his Model 3 into the bank of a creek.
Most importantly, don’t drink and drive, folks.
1 Killed and 3 Injured at a Tesla event in Detroit
Lately, it seems like vehicles have become vessels of death and destruction, and are an easy weapon for terrorists to get their hands on. An incident at a Tesla event outside of a Shinola in Midtown, Detroit looked to be the most recent of these types of attacks, with one person dead and three injured after a being hit by a truck “traveling at high speed.” But as it turns out, it wasn’t a terrorist action at all. According to local news outlet WDIV Local 4, the driver of a pickup crossed the center line of the road at high speed, and slammed into the people, throwing them into the air. One victim was a 73-year-old male who was wedged underneath one of Tesla’s Airstream trailers.
Three of the victims were taken to the hospital, and one declined any medical treatment. Police arrived on the scene quickly and took the driver of the truck, a 43-year-old, into custody for drug and alcohol testing. It was originally reported that this incident was intentional, however, the police now say that the driver didn’t have a license and has admitted to taking drugs prior to driving. At this time, it isn’t believed that the incident was intentional and the living victims have been listed as being in “temporary serious condition.” Tesla is in Detroit as part of its Tesla Explores campaign in which it uses Model Xs to haul around airstream trailers that have been fashioned into mobile design studios.
Tesla Driver Damages His Own Model S To Save Stranger’s Life
Sometimes, heroism comes in the strangest of circumstances, and people who don’t consider themselves built in the mold of a Superman find themselves acting like one. Case in point: the 41-year old driver of a Tesla Model S who is hailed as a hero for intentionally causing damage to his pricey electric sedan, all in the name of saving the life of a total stranger.
According to German news outlet Muncher Merkur, the driver, named Manfred Kick, was on the German Autobahn when he chanced upon a Volkswagen Passat that was being driven erratically by its driver. The Passat even slammed into the guardrail a number of times. Curious to see what was going on, Kick pulled up alongside the Volkswagen only to notice that its driver was unconsciousness. From there, Kick sprung to action, accelerating his Model S and pulling in front of the Passat before slowly braking his car, making sure that the Passat could rest up against the rear bumper of his Model S until both cars came to a stop.
From there, Kick rushed to the Passat, climbed through the passenger door, and proceeded to give him first aid. It was then that another party hurried to the scene and called for emergency help. Once the fire department arrived on the scene, it determined that the unnamed driver of the Passat could have suffered a stroke while driving the car, rendering him unconscious.
But thanks to Kick’s quick thinking, the 47-year old Passat owner was taken to the hospital where, according to Muncher Merkur, he is now in stable condition.
Ironically enough, the police informed Kick that a preliminary investigation was opened against him as part of “procedure.” That said, it is unlikely that the Model S owner would be prosecuted as the local police department is considering giving him an award for his actions that ended with him saving a stranger’s life.
Continue reading for the full story.
Two People Killed In Explosive Tesla Crash
Casey Speckman, a 27-year old woman and her 44-year old co-worker Kevin McCarthy lost their lives in a crash involving a Tesla Model S in Indianapolis, Indiana. Details on what caused the deadly crash are still being investigated but the two were reportedly killed after Speckman lost control of the car before smashing into a tree and then into a parking garage, causing multiple explosions that led to the Model S catching fire.
According to local news outlet WishTV, witness accounts described the scene as horrific with one particular witness saying that a big explosion happened after the crash, which lead to several small explosions that ended up with debris just “popping up in the air.” Firefighters from the Indianapolis Fire Department also said that debris field stretched 150 yards, including lithium batteries that were still scattered around the area the morning after the crash.
Despite their best efforts in containing the fire and saving the lives of Speckman and her passenger, McCarthy, firefighters from the IFD took 10 minutes to put the fire out and 20 minutes just to get McCarthy out. The delay was largely attributed to the sophistication of cars like the Model S, which Tesla admits in its manual for first responders as a car that should be considered “energized” until the fire has been completely extinguished.
To make things more complicated, Kevin Jones, the Battalion Chief of Special Operations for the IDF, admitted the complication of extinguishing the fire on a Tesla.
“With the high voltage batteries they’re lithium ion batteries and they require copious amounts of water to extinguish them, they burn very hot," Jones said. "Back in the 1980s, the vehicles you could come up there and cut pretty much everywhere and not have a hazard. But now with the introduction of airbags and the seat belt retention and the high voltage lines we have to peel and peak and look and make sure we’re not going to cut into something that will cause a hazard for us or the victims.”
Speckman was killed in the crash while McCarthy died at the hospital.
Tesla Model S Crashes Into Florida Gym
Another day, another crash involving a Tesla Model S. This latest episode took place in late August in Lighthouse Point, Florida where a Model S abruptly accelerated as it was parking, causing it smash through a front window of a local gym. Fortunately, the nobody was injured from the crash, which the driver blames on the car accelerating by itself. Tesla has since reviewed the vehicle’s logs remotely and to no one’s surprise, it placed the blame on the driver accidentally pressing the gas pedal.
The accident is similar to a previous incident that occurred in California back. In that case, the driver also claimed that his Model X accelerated by itself, causing it to crash into a building. Tesla also blamed that crash to driver error after also reviewing the Model X’s vehicle logs.
The incident in Florida is the latest in a string of high profile crashes involving Tesla vehicles. A surveillance video from inside the gym captured the horrific accident. Halfway through the two-minute the video, the Model S appears in the video where it’s about to reverse into an available parking slot. Then in an instant, it accelerates straight into the front glass window of the gym, resulting in heavy damages to both the car and the property.
What’s worth noting is that had the accident occurred 40 seconds earlier, it could have taken a woman who looked to either be an employee of the gym or its actual owner. That’s about the only silver lining that happened in this crash and it’s going to be interesting how this incident is resolved.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Nobody can deny that things have been a little rough for Tesla lately. After than fatal accident back in May, the company has found itself constantly under the microscope by every media outlet on the planet. But, as it turns out, that accident may not have actually been the first fatal accident involving the company’s AutoPilot system. Reports have begun to surface of another fatal accident that occurring in China back in January of 2016.
In this specific accident, there is actually dash cam footage that shows a Model S plowing into the back of a street sweeper on the highway. It’s pretty clear that the Tesla didn’t even try to brake before the accident, but what isn’t clear is whether or not AutoPilot was engaged at the time of the accident. The last accident that occurred in China involving AutoPilot didn’t result in any injuries, but did result in Tesla changing its wording on its Chinese site to remove to words “self-driving.”
As for this accident just coming into the light nine months after it happened, Tesla is currently investigating the situation. Tesla has already released a statement claiming that it couldn’t retrieve log information from the car due to the extensive damage and the driver’s family has yet to supply any information:
“We were saddened to learn of the death of our customer’s son. We take any incident with our vehicles very seriously and immediately reached out to our customer when we learned of the crash. Because of the damage caused by the collision, the car was physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers, and we, therefore, have no way of knowing whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash. We have tried repeatedly to work with our customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but he has not provided us with any additional information that would allow us to do so.”
For now, that is all we know about the incident aside from the fact that the driver’s family has, in fact, filed a lawsuit against Tesla. And, while that may be the case, it may not work out in their favor. The owner’s manual of every Tesla clearly states that the Traffic-Aware Cruise control cannot detect all objections and may not brake for stationary objects when the vehicle is driving at higher speed.
Tesla Model S Catches Fire Due To Improperly Tightened Electrical Connection
A defect in the bolted electrical connection has been revealed as the cause of the fire that engulfed a Tesla Model S in France during a test drive. The revelation comes from Tesla itself, which conducted an investigation in the aftermath of the fire. According to the automaker, one of those connections was “improperly tightened” because it was done manually instead of the usual process of having a robot do it.
The defect ended up causing the electric car to go up in flames, but only after the occupants heard a loud noise, prompting the car’s warning message to flash. The Tesla employee who was riding in the car immediately instructed the driver, Nicolas Cano, to pull the car over before it ended up catching fire.
Fire fighters immediately rushed to the scene only to see the charred remains of the car as witnesses reported seeing the Model S burn to the ground in a matter of minutes.
Charles Delaville, Tesla’s French communications manager, spoke to Fox News and went into detail about the cause of the fire. According to Delaville, the electrical connections on its vehicles are usually “installed by a robot,” but for whatever reason, connections on the car that burned down was “installed manually.”
Neither Delaville nor any other person from Tesla have elaborated on why the Model S in question’s electrical connections were installed manually.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Tesla Gets One-Week Extension To Submit Joshua Brown Crash Documents To NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given Tesla until Friday, September 2, 2016, to submit documents related to the accident that killed Joshua Brown on May 7, 2016 on U.S. 27 near Williston, Florida. The incident has been rehashed multiple times, but for those who still don’t know, Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S crashed into a semi truck while its Autopilot system was engaged.
The incident caused widespread scrutiny of Tesla’s Autopilot system, prompting two separate government agencies - the NHTSA and the Florida Highway Patrol - to launch separate investigations on what caused the crash and who was the blame for it. As part of its investigation, the NHTSA submitted an information request to Matthew Schwall, Tesla’s director of field performance engineering, pertaining to the data the automaker gathered from Brown’s Autopilot system. Part of the agency’s request also called for Tesla to identify the number of alleged defects it was aware of related to Forward Collision Warning or Automatic Emergency and tests the automaker “has done or plans to do” to the Autopilot system and the changes the company may have made that could’ve caused the alleged defects to spring forth.
The NHTSA initially gave Tesla until August 26, 2016 to submit the documents, but after a request from the company to extend the deadline, the government agency granted a one-week extension that will expire on September 2, 2016. It’s unclear what kind of penalties the NHTSA will give to Tesla if the automaker doesn’t submit the requested data by Friday.
In related news, Business Insider is also reporting that the Florida Highway Patrol has indicated that its own homicide investigation into the Brown crash is still open and that according to Steven Montiero, a community safety officer for the Florida Highway Patrol, “no new information is expected for another one to two weeks. This development comes after the law enforcement authorities revealed that the investigation would be completed “by the end of August.”
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Tesla Drops "Self-Driving" Phrase On Chinese Website After Reported Autopilot Crash
The Chinese auto market is the biggest in the world and it just might also be the most influential. Tesla found that out the hard way when it was forced to acknowledge a mistake it made on its Chinese website describing its Autopilot system as a “self-driving” feature. The terminology has since been scrubbed from the website and replaced with a phrase that more closely translates to “self-assisted driving.”
The brouhaha started when Luo Zhen, a Chinese owner of a Tesla Model S, sideswiped a stopped car along the side of a road when his Model S’s Autopilot system engaged. Luo spoke with Reuters in the aftermath of the incident, calling Tesla and its local sales staff out for misrepresenting the technology’s capabilities by touting its functions using a phrase that translated to “self-driving.” Luo’s claims of misrepresentation were corroborated by other owners of Tesla models in the country, with some, including Luo, even saying that demonstrators took their hands off the steering wheel and then took their feet off the pedals to showcase the system’s capabilities.
Tesla admitted that the crash took place but the normally stubborn automaker was also forced to take the unusual step of acknowledging the mistake it made on its website. A Tesla spokesperson spoke with Reuters after the changes in the website to deny that Luo’s crash and the publicity it generated were the reasons behind the edits. According to the spokesperson, the change was simply part of Tesla’s “ongoing work in improving translations.”
Unfortunately, a spin like that is as obvious as it is blatant. That or the timing of the edits in the wake of the crash’s publicity can be chalked up to a happy coincidence. In any case, Reuters also learned that the electric car maker has reached out to its staff in the country retraining them to inform future customers that the Autopilot system is a “self-assisted technology” and that drivers must always have their hands on the wheel when engaging the system.
It’s unclear if Tesla if going to make a similar move in rephrasing the system’s capabilities in other markets, but the fact that it had to do it in China goes to show how important that market is for the company and any attempts at pissing it off would be bad for business.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.