A Tesla was discovered early last week, mysteriously wrecked at the bottom of a cliff in Santa Clara County, its driver found dead. According to the California Highway Patrol, the Tesla "went over" the cliff, and the driver, 60-year-old Pleasanton resident James Yacorzynski, was found dead at the scene.
The car was found off of Mines Road near Turner Gulch Road, northeast of Mount Hamilton. Mines Road is described as "a windy, mountainous road that runs along the eastern Diablo Range and connects Santa Clara County with Livermore in the East Bay."
California Highway Patrol officer Ross Lee commented that authorities were unsure how long the Tesla had been sitting at the bottom of the cliff.
"For some reason, the man’s Tesla careened off the cliff, but all else remains a mystery," CBS reported. While there is still no known cause for the accident, we will keep an eye on the story as it develops. There has been no confirmation as to whether or not Autopilot was involved in the accident.
However, of interest may be this Quora thread, which asks the question: "Does Tesla’s autopilot work on winding mountain roads?" One Tesla owner responded:
"It depends on the curvature of the road (presuming you meant “winding”). Over time, I’ve observed AutoPilot safely handling tighter and tighter curves at appropriate speeds. Currently, my Tesla can handle the relatively tight curve of a round-about with aplomb. Recently, it finally navigated a series of right-angle turns in an access road — albeit wobbly and just barely avoiding crossing either line."
"Any time you’re off a well-marked motorway/freeway, you’re in an area which the current generation of Autopilot does less well," a second Tesla owner says.
Recall, earlier this year the NTSB revealed that Autopilot had played a role in a fatal 2019 Model 3 accident in Delray Beach, Florida. The driver had set the car to go 69 miles per hour 12.3 seconds before the crash took place on a highway that had a speed limit of 55 mph, according to Bloomberg. The NTSB also revealed that the driver's hands were not on the wheel for the final 7.7 seconds before the crash.
The NTSB had also arrived at similar findings regarding a 2016 Florida crash where another Tesla driver didn't react to a truck in the roadway. In that instance, the NTSB found that Tesla's Autopilot design contributed to the cause of the accident.