In the latest incident to take place while a Tesla car was on Autopilot, at least the authorities were on the scene quickly. That, of course, is because the Tesla Model S in question, located on Freeway 3 in Hsinchu County, Taiwan, reportedly plowed directly into the back of a police car.
Two officers that were directing traffic at the time narrowly escaped death or serious injury, reportedly jumping out of the way "just in time" before the accident occurred.
The accident took place despite reports that there were "100 meters of traffic cones and flashing warning lights" placed behind the police car. After the first patrol car was hit, it subsequently wound up hitting a second patrol car. The damage was estimated to be around NT$3 million (~USD $97,300).
The driver, who after feeling "drowsy", engaged his Autopilot on the highway was subsequently tested for alcohol. The test was found to be non-reactive. The driver told police he had finished a long shift at work that started at 6AM that morning, about 16 hours earlier than the accident occurred.
Tesla's website, as a reminder, states: “Autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time.”
So, naturally, when Elon Musk demonstrated Autopilot for his recent controversial 60 Minutes interview, he did just the opposite, taking his hands off the wheel before his vehicle appeared to cut off another driver in traffic during a lane change.
This incident is just the latest in a series of accidents where Autopilot has been the main suspect. And of course, it's not the first where a Tesla has slammed into an inanimate police vehicle, either. Earlier this year, it was reported on Twitter by Laguna Beach police that a Model S sedan traveling with the Autopilot function on slammed into a parked Laguna Beach police car. The Laguna Beach police department tweeted the news along with photographs:
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 March, a driver was killed when a Model X with Autopilot engaged hit a barrier while traveling at "freeway speed" in California.
With the kinks apparently completely worked out of the Autopilot software, all we have left to say is: "Next stop, Mars!"