Tesla crashes into parked police car in California; driver says Autopilot was on

Tesla crash Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach Police Department

Police in Laguna Beach, California, say a Tesla Model S crashed into a parked patrol car. The driver, who suffered minor injuries, told investigators Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident.

Local news channel ABC7 reports the incident happened on the morning of May 29 on Laguna Canyon Road. Though the investigation is ongoing, the first police officers who arrived at the scene noted the force of the impact pushed the Ford Explorer over the sidewalk. Both cars sustained a substantial amount of damage; police declared the patrol car a total loss. Luckily, it was unoccupied at the time of the impact.

We don’t know exactly what happened or how fast the Tesla was driving. The investigation will reveal whether Autopilot malfunctioned, or if this represents yet another case of technology-aided distracted driving. Police sergeant Jim Cota noted the crash happened in the same spot a Tesla collided with a semi last year.

“Why do these vehicles keep doing that? We’re just lucky people aren’t getting injured,” Cota told the Los Angeles Times.

Tesla hasn’t commented on the cause of the crash. We imagine that will soon change. Company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk recently criticized members of the media for covering accidents involving Tesla’s vehicles. Speaking during a conference call, he explained he’s tired of the bad press and pledged to release quarterly safety reports to persuade drivers and journalists that the system makes driving safer, not more dangerous. The company nonetheless acknowledges some drivers use Autopilot improperly on a regular basis.

“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,'” a Tesla spokesperson told Digital Trends.

The accident is the latest in a surprisingly long string of Autopilot-related crashes this year. Earlier in May, a 28-year old woman suffered a broken ankle when her Tesla Model S slammed into the back of a fire truck parked at a light on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. Reviewing the vehicle’s logs revealed she had Autopilot turned on but used the system improperly because she regularly took her hands off the steering wheel. She admitted she was looking at her phone before the impact.

In March, the 38-year old driver of a Model X died after his crossover drove into a concrete divider on Highway 101 in Mountain View, California. He had engaged Autopilot, but he took his hands off the steering wheel moments before the collision. In January, another Model S rear-ended a fire engine at 65 mph in Culver City, California. The driver blamed Autopilot; the investigation into the crash remains open.

Update: added statement from Tesla.

Cars

Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (April 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Cars

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.
Cars

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Cars

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.
Cars

Carbuying can be tiring: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Cars

Apple’s interest in self-driving cars reported to be revving up

A new report suggests that Apple is in talks with a number of suppliers to purchase lidar sensors, an essential tool for self-driving cars. The news is once again spiking rumors that Apple might be building vehicles.
Cars

Café racer-inspired ebike hits 28 mph quickly and quietly with carbon belt drive

Ebike manufacturer Electra launched the Café Moto Go, an advanced ebike. The Café Moto Go's step-over frame was inspired by café racers. The Café Moto Go is a premium performance ebike built to run smoothly and extra quietly.
Cars

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by Realtor.com found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.