A Tesla Model S purportedly operating in Autopilot mode crashed into the back of a parked fire truck that was responding to an accident on Interstate 405 in Culver City, Calif., on Monday.
No one was seriously injured.
The Tesla was traveling at 65 mph and, according to the driver, it was set to Autopilot, the Culver City firefighters union said in a tweet.
Tesla's Autopilot provides limited semi-autonomous driving aid, including the ability to steer itself within a lane and brake for obstacles in front of it.
Fire and police officials could not immediately confirm the driver’s claim, according to The Mercury News. A Tesla spokesperson reiterated the company’s position that Autopilot is “intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.”
Company CEO Elon Musk has not yet commented on the crash.
Autopilot requires a driver to periodically touch the steering wheel to prove they are paying attention. If not, it will set off several alerts and then enter a safe shutdown sequence.
Following an investigation into the 2016 death of Tesla owner Joshua Brown, whose car drove into a semi truck that was crossing a highway in front of it, the NTSB called such steering wheel interactions “a poor surrogate for monitored driving engagement.”
Tesla has promised that a future version will provide fully autonomous driving capability, but a date for its introduction has not been confirmed.
The crash comes just a few days after an alleged drunk driver on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge apparently tried to get out of trouble by telling police his car was on Autopilot when he was pulled over at more than twice the legal limit.
He was arrested and his car was towed.