We all look forward to the day when our cars are all self-aware and are able to get us from point A to point B safe and sound. In fact, autonomous driving could be the future, but there are still many, many more variables to contend with. It would only be a whole lot safer if the entire road system makes use of autonomous vehicles -- as contending with a random vehicle that weaves in and out of traffic in a dangerous manner might prove too much for the autonomous vehicle’s algorithms to handle, which might lead to an accident. Well, Tesla’s Autopilot feature is certainly a future forward idea that will function as a bridge to future transportation, but it still has plenty of growing pains to go through. The latest incident involving the Tesla Autopilot feature would be a Model X crashing into a police motorcycle.
Anyone who rams into a police vehicle on purpose would most definitely get into a whole lot of trouble, but in this particular instance, some leeway must be given to the Model X owner. While on Autopilot, the alleged Model X involved in the minor accident actually crashed into a police motorcycle at 3 MPH over in Arizona. Not enough to kill anyone, but it certainly raises cause for concern as to the effectiveness of the Autopilot feature.
AZ Central reported that the Model X in question made its way into a police motorcycle, where the former did not stop in time as it lightly hit the latter that stopped at a red light. It seems that the Tesla driver claimed innocence, citing that the Model X was in autopilot mode when the incident happened. According to Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Alan Pfohl, current investigations remain tight lipped on the situation without any way of finding out whether that claim was true or not.
After all, Tesla drivers in the past who were involved in some sort of automotive tiffs of one kind or another used to place the blame on the autopilot feature, which would quickly reduce their role and responsibility in the accident. Of course, this is hard to tell at first glance, and Tesla would also like to clear their name in such altercations since the company has a log of all its vehicles in order to assist in any kind of crash investigation.
Will the Tesla driver be absolved of his claim once Tesla looks into the matter? Perhaps, or perhaps not. However, since there was not actual damage to go over, there will be no official police investigation opened concerning the matter. In fact, Pfohl shared, “It wasn’t even a reportable collision. If it wasn’t involving an officer, we would not have even investigated it.”
There you go -- even the police themselves are going to give this a miss, but the question remains, “Just how safe is Tesla’s Autopilot feature?” Only time and advancements made in the technology involved will be able to provide the answer, and we do hope that improvements happen sooner rather than later if the era of automated vehicles were to be ushered in.