Tesla Model X Driver Says Autopilot 'Wouldn't Let Him Take Control' Before Crashing
Tesla responded at the driver's claim, saying that the brakes have an independent bypass circuit and the electric steering can be easily overpowered.
A New Jersey man claims that his Tesla Model X forced him into a crash when the Autopilot system wouldn't allow him to take control of his own vehicle. The SUV ultimately veered off the road along Route 1 in North Brunswick and crashed into several road signs and bushes, according to ABC7 NY.
It's unclear what originally caused Eric Carters and his Model X to reach the point of no return, but the original report claims that various road markings and lane changes could've confused the Autopilot camera and sensors, guiding the car in a different course than desired. However, that still wouldn't explain Carter's claim that when he tried to regain control of the moving vehicle, the car "would not let him."
"I was able to slightly correct the turn and avoid hitting a road sign head-on [at last minute]," Carters told the Gothamist.
Carters was eventually able to regain control of the Model X (if it was ever taken away) and the vehicle eventually came to a full stop in a mud puddle next to the highway, leaving bits of Tesla and other debris scattered along its trajectory. Carters did not suffer any injuries and no other drivers or vehicles were involved.
Tesla's chimed in on this specific accident, saying that "since it launched Autopilot in 2015, we are not aware of a single instance in which Autopilot refused to disengage."
"A driver can easily override Autopilot by lightly touching the steering wheel or brakes," said a Tesla spokesperson. "Moreover, the brakes have an independent bypass circuit that cuts power to the motor no matter what the Autopilot computer requests. And the steering wheel has enough leverage for a person to overpower the electric steering assist at all times."
"Safety is the top priority at Tesla, and we engineer and build our cars with this in mind," the statement added. "We also ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles, including following the car’s instructions for remaining alert and present when using Autopilot and to be prepared to take control at all times."