A Tesla sedan running on Autopilot mode collided with a parked vehicle belonging to the Laguna Beach Police Department today. No one was in the police car and the Tesla driver had only minor injuries, reports the Los Angeles Times, but the police car was “totaled,” Laguna Beach police sergeant Jim Cota told the newspaper.
Cota also said that a year ago, there had been another incident involving a Tesla colliding with a semi-truck in the same area. “Why do these vehicles keep doing that?” he told the LA Times. “We’re just lucky that people aren’t getting injured.”
This morning a Tesla sedan driving outbound Laguna Canyon Road in “autopilot” collides with a parked @LagunaBeachPD unit. Officer was not in the unit at the time of the crash and minor injuries were sustained to the Tesla driver. #lagunabeach #police #tesla pic.twitter.com/7sAs8VgVQ3
— Laguna Beach PD PIO (@LBPD_PIO_45) May 29, 2018
In an emailed statement, a Tesla spokesperson said:
“When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times. Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings.’”
This is the latest in several accidents involving a Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode. These include a crash in Utah earlier this month that occurred while the driver was looking at her phone and two fatal crashes, one in California two months ago and another in 2016 that happened in Florida.
Launched in late 2015, Tesla’s Autopilot feature is meant to “relieve drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel” and includes standard safety features like automatic emergency braking and collision warnings, but it is not meant to replace navigation by a human driver.
Despite Tesla’s instructions to drivers before they start using Autopilot, the automaker’s critics have called on the company to disable the feature until it can be made safer. For example, Consumer Reports said the name Autopilot gives drivers a “false sense of security” and that “these two messages—your vehicle can drive itself, but you may need to take over the controls at a moment’s notice—create potential for driver confusion.”