Tesla’s Autopilot is being blamed once again for causing a car crash. This time the driver claims that the vehicle suddenly accelerated in Autopilot mode, causing the car to go off the road and roll over into a marsh.
According to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, the 2016 Tesla ended up on its roof with its five occupants sustaining minor injuries. Here’s the account of driver David Clark via the police report:
Clark stated that when he engaged the auto pilot (sic) feature that the vehicle suddenly accelerated causing the car to leave the roadway and overturn. Clark and his four adult passengers all sustained minor injuries.
According to the police report, the Tesla was driving towards an intersection where it would have to either turn left or right. The Google Image result appears to show a marsh on the opposite end of the intersection from the direction Clark was reportedly driving.
Of course Tesla’s Autopilot is only a Level Two system, meaning the driver of the vehicle is still completely responsible for being aware of the circumstances of the road, with a suite of safety features and warnings in the car simply there to assist and alert the driver.
A Tesla spokesperson reached out to Jalopnik with the following statement:
We are glad the driver and passengers are safe. We are working to establish the facts of the incident and have offered our full cooperation to the local authorities. We have not yet established whether the vehicle’s Autopilot feature was activated, and have no reason to believe that Autopilot, which has been found by NHTSA to reduce accident rates by 40 percent, worked other than as designed.
Every time a driver engages Autopilot, they are reminded of their responsibility to remain engaged and to be prepared to take immediate action at all times, and drivers must acknowledge their responsibility to do so before Autopilot is enabled.
It’s unclear whether a police investigation or Tesla’s data will be able to reveal more information about the incident, but we’ll update if any further details are revealed.