Yet another owner of a Tesla is blaming the brand’s Autopilot system for a crash.
According to a member of Tesla Motors Club, the crash took place late at night when the Model X “drove off the road” while Autopilot was active, hitting a number of wooden stakes that were in the ground to support a guard rail. The crash happened in Whitehall, Montana, while the Model X was travelling between 56 and 60 mph. The front right hand side of the Model X suffered some serious damage, though the occupants of the vehicle were unharmed.
Autopilot is a semi-autonomous driving system that is able to take over all of the controls from the driver including steering and braking, though Tesla explicitly says that drivers are not supposed to take their hands off the wheel and are supposed to be in control at all times. The company also says that Autopilot should not be used on roads without a center divider, which wasn’t present in this case.
When drivers activate Autopilot, a pop-up on the screen explains to them that the system “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times.”
Two other accidents in as many weeks have been blamed on Autopilot, attracting enough attention that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun an investigation into them, to make sure that the system was working as advertised.
Neither Tesla or NHTSA has commented on this latest crash.