Tesla Model X, Reportedly on Autopilot, Hits Police Motorcycle in Arizona
The incident occurred on Utopia Road.
We are constantly told self-driving cars are the future, but for all the autonomous capabilities being added on high-end new cars, a machine that can handle 100 percent of your A-B trips while you take a nap has yet to be developed. Even the vaunted Tesla Autopilot, the company constantly reminds us, is designed to be used with a person's full attention (and hands on the wheel). So they're probably pretty annoyed that another one of their drivers is in the headlines again, this time for almost running over a motorcycle cop in his allegedly Autopiloted Tesla Model X at the end of a highway off-ramp in Phoenix.
According to a report by the Arizona Republic, the officer on the motorcycle departed the Black Canyon Freeway running ahead of the Tesla. The officer stopped at the light at the end of the ramp, waiting to merge onto Utopia Road. The Model X also came to a brief stop right behind the officer, but then moved forward unexpectedly. The officer ditched his motorcycle and jumped clear, and the Tesla struck it as it lay on the ground. No one was injured, and neither vehicle was reported damaged.
The driver told police the car was operating in Autopilot mode at the time—though they were unable to confirm that, and Tesla officials wouldn't comment to the Republic. If the driver is lying, it's a pretty dumb move considering a) it's a crime and b) Tesla loves nothing more than busting out the data to prove its technology's innocence. Their website itself says that the car will transition control back to you as you exit the highway, so perhaps they're just letting the situation speak for itself.
Though police released this information this week, the incident actually took place last Tuesday, just a few days before a self-driving Uber SUV was involved in a crash in nearby Tempe. Uber resumed their autonomous testing on Monday after investigators found the other driver was at fault.
UPDATE: A Tesla spokesperson contacted The Drive with a request to add the following statement:
Tesla company officials say that they have not received any report of such an incident.