Watch a Tesla Model S Crash Into a Barrier on Autopilot
Reminder: always pay attention when using Autopilot.
A Tesla Model S using Autopilot was captured on dashcam video driving into a barrier on a highway, though from the looks of it the semi-autonomous driving feature isn't to blame for the crash.
A Tesla owner took to Reddit on Sunday to share photos of his wrecked Model S. The car was driving on a divided highway in Grapevine, Texas, when it struck a barrier that closed off the lane the sedan was traveling in.
In the original Reddit post, the driver blamed Autopilot for the crash, but video recorded on a dashcam inside a car that was behind the Tesla shows differently.
"I was driving in the left lane of a two-lane highway. The car is AP1 and I've never had any problems until today," the driver wrote on Reddit. "Autopilot was on didn't give me a warning. It misread the road and hit the barrier. After the airbags deployed there was a bunch of smoke and my car rolled to a grinding stop. Thankfully no one was hurt and I walked away with only bruises."
It's correct that it appears Autopilot didn't do anything to prevent the accident, but because the tech isn't currently set up to be fully autonomous, the driver is always required to be monitoring the car's actions and the roadway around the vehicle. In the video, it doesn't look like the driver was following that rule.
The likeliest scenario is that the Tesla was primarily following the lane markings on the highway, which intersect abruptly with the barrier. As Electrek notes, it's possible that the Tesla's Forward Collision Warning system failed because the driver said the car never warned showed an alert for the incoming obstacle.
The car's Automatic Emergency Braking system likely didn't kick in because the Tesla was supposed to change lanes instead of slow to prevent hitting the barrier.
The Autopilot features currently usable in Teslas are not capable of driving themselves. The driver has previously reported on two fatal Tesla crashes where Tesla's Autopilot functions were reportedly in use.
Driving is no joke, no matter what tech is in front of you. Pay attention.