One more Tesla driver in China who got into an accident while drunk blamed Autopilot. The company immediately denied the accusations, and the conditions for activation and operation of the function categorically rule out its involvement.
A Tesla owner in China tried to blame Autopilot for a crash after breaking the law while drunk driving and getting into an accident. Late on July 29, he was driving a Model X and crashed into a lamp post, according to the local Qianjiang Evening News. According to reports, no one was injured. The accident occurred near the local fire station, so firefighters arrived at the scene of the accident before the traffic police and confirmed that there was no threat of ignition of the car.
The driver denied his guilt and any involvement in the accident, claiming that he was not driving the car. He said he activated the Autopilot function while sitting in the passenger seat and blamed Tesla's Autopilot for the crash. “No, no, I wasn't driving, the vehicle drove itself,” the owner said.
The driver said that he was drunk, so he ordered a chauffeur service, but the driver was in another place, near his original location. So he decided to drive to this place in his car, using the Autopilot function while sitting in the passenger seat.
Tesla employees quickly denied such a claim, explaining that the function could not be activated under the circumstances described by the driver. The bottom line is that in order to activate Autopilot, you need to do a series of actions that require the mandatory presence of the driver in the driver's seat. The seat and steering wheel of the car have special sensors, and if they do not detect the driver sitting in the seat and holding the steering wheel, the function will not be activated; or, if Autopilot was originally started properly, but at some point during a trip the car does not detect weight on the seat and steering wheel, it will automatically turn off, smoothly stopping the car. In addition, the vehicle must be moving at least at 18 mph to activate Autopilot. Taking into account the facts, it becomes obvious that the driver's story is complete fiction in order not to be held responsible for his actions.
Chinese law prohibits driving after drinking, and violators face a six-month suspension of their driver's license and a fine of up to $300.
Tesla developed Autopilot and continues to strive for Level 5 autonomy in order to make driving safer. Already, Autopilot is nine times safer than a human driver. However, it is worth remembering that this is an auxiliary function that requires constant supervision by the driver, which all Tesla owners are aware of, and neglecting this rule does not relieve them of responsibility. It is unfortunate that many unscrupulous drivers who get into accidents of their own fault continue to seek to evade responsibility, lying that their cars are at fault, even when their stories are very easy to expose.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.