There has been yet another grim development involving Tesla's Autopilot and motorcycles - a disturbing trend we first started pointing out months ago when we talked about two incidents that occurred this summer.
Well it turns out there was a third incident this summer that hasn't yet been reportedly on widely, mostly because authorities were unsure of the details. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is already reportedly "gathering information" on the incident, according to CNN.
But on Monday, driver crash assist data that automakers are forced to report in such incidents was finally published and confirmed that Autopilot was engaged during the incident.
The incident involved Ingrid Eva Noon, the report says, who was riding her motorcycle in Palm Beach County, Florida at 2:11 a.m. on August 26.
An impaired driver who had Tesla's Autopilot engaged hit the back of the motorcycle, throwing her "onto the Tesla’s windshield and killing her", according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office.
Motorcycle advocates have claimed that "recent crashes suggest the Tesla system is insufficient", according to the CNN report. They are concerned that "the software fails to see motorcycles and lulls Tesla drivers into a sense of complacency and inattentiveness" and that "the government’s vehicle safety regulations do not adequately protect motorcycle riders".
Rob Dingman, President and CEO, American Motorcyclist Association, commented to CNN: “Motorcyclists have long been told by crash-causing inattentive drivers, ‘Sorry, I didn’t see you.’ Now we are hearing, ‘Sorry, my car didn’t see you.’ This is unacceptable.”
Eric Stine, treasure of the Utah chapter of ABATE, which advocates for motorcycle riders, added: “If it can’t see a motorcycle, can it see a pedestrian? Can it see a small child? Can it see an animal?”
Recall, back in August we wrote about the NHTSA investigating Tesla crashes that left two motorcyclists dead.
The Tesla's were "apparently running on Autopilot", according to APs coverage of the story. The accidents wound up killing 2 motorcyclists, the report says. The NHTSA is now looking at whether or not Tesla vehicle automation stops the vehicles for motorcycles.
Both accidents were similar in nature: the NHTSA said it "sent investigation teams to two crashes last month in which Teslas collided with motorcycles on freeways in the darkness". In both instances, the motorcyclists were killed.
We noted then that the agency had suspicions "that Tesla’s partially automated driver-assist system was in use" during both accidents.