Another day, another Tesla Model 3 story – this one could be the first reported Autopilot-engaged crash outside of North America.
The Model 3 was in northern Greece with its holidaying driver, You You Xue of California. As with this fatal Model X impact and this bizarre incident where a Model S failed to see a fire truck, Autopilot was engaged. Yet again, the driver trusted it too much and paid the price.
While travelling at 75mph (the speed limit), reports suggest that the system became confused by an exit slip-road, jerking away from the straight-ahead lane unexpectedly – and too late for the distracted Mr Xue to prevent it hitting the solid lane divider.
In a statement on his Facebook page, he has admitted looking at a navigation app on his phone with one hand on the wheel. After the early end struck his 24,000-mile-plus trip across 25 countries he wrote:
“My left hand was grasping the bottom of the steering wheel during the drive, my right hand was resting on my lap. The vehicle showed no signs of difficulty following the road up until this fork.
“As the gore point began, approximately 8m before the crash barrier and end of the fork, my Model 3 veered suddenly and with great force to the right. I was taking a glance at the navigation on my phone, and was not paying full attention to the road.
“I was startled by the sudden change in direction of the car, and I attempted to apply additional grip onto the steering wheel in an attempt to correct the steering.
“This input was too late and although I was only a few inches from clearing the crash barrier, the front left of the vehicle near the wheel well crashed into the right edge of the barrier, resulting in severe damage.”
He wasn’t harmed and the damage looks a lot worse than the impact actually was. No airbags fired. The video below shows the place where the accident happened.
“Although we haven’t been able to retrieve any data from the vehicle given that the accident occurred in an unsupported area, Tesla has always been clear that the driver must remain responsible for the car at all times when using Autopilot.”
Remember: these are not self-driving cars. They can’t be trusted not to have random spasms caused by errant code. Use the sensor array as a driver backup, not a chauffeur.