- A Tesla hit a state trooper’s patrol car and another vehicle on an interstate outside of Orlando.
- The vehicle was in Autopilot mode, which can fail to recognize stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights, federal investigators have said.
- Tesla has come under fire for the feature’s name, as it does not make cars autonomous.
A Tesla said to be in Autopilot mode hit a state trooper’s patrol car and another vehicle on a highway in Florida early Saturday morning, local media reports.
The Florida state trooper was stopped with his emergency lights on and was trying to help another vehicle that was stopped on the interstate in Orlando just before 5 a.m., Florida Highway Patrol told WKMG ClickOrlando.
The Tesla apparently failed to move over on the interstate as it approached the vehicles, eventually hitting both of the cars and nearly missing the state trooper who was out of his patrol car, the crash report obtained by ClickOrlando stated. The Tesla had Autopilot engaged, the report said.
Tesla did not respond to Insider’s request to comment on the accident.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating Tesla’s driver-assist Autopilot feature.
The NHTSA has identified over 11 crashes since 2018 in which a Tesla in Autopilot or “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” mode has struck vehicles at first-responder scenes, according to a document detailing the scope of the investigation.
Most of the crashes in the investigation took place after dark and had involved emergency vehicles with flashing lights, flares, illuminated arrow boards, or even traffic cones near them, Insider reported.
In April, two people died in a car crash outside of Houston, Texas, after the Tesla they were in ran off the road.
Authorities at the scene said nobody was driving the car and it was suggested that the passengers were using Tesla’s Autopilot feature, Insider reported. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that Autopilot was not engaged in that incident.
Autopilot automates some highway-driving tasks, but it does not allow the cars to fully drive themselves. Tesla has come under fire for Autopilot’s name, which critics say is misleading and invites drivers to misuse it, Insider reported. Tesla also sells other features called “Full Self-Driving Capability,” which also does not make the car autonomous.