Model X owner claims confused Autopilot causes crash; Tesla rejects blame

best cars for the snow tesla model x header

The driver of a Tesla Model X claims his electric crossover veered off the road and crashed after its Autopilot system malfunctioned. The accident happened late at night on Sunday, February 10, in New Jersey.

The owner’s identity hasn’t been released yet, but the New Jersey law enforcement officials who arrived at the scene of the accident say he wasn’t hurt or charged. The Model X sustained significant damage, however. When questioned about what happened, the driver replied he was traveling with Autopilot — Tesla’s suite of semi-autonomous driving aids — turned on when the car “got confused due to the lane markings,” according to police officers who spoke to news website

“The vehicle could have gone straight or taken the Adams Lane exit, but instead split the difference and went down the middle, taking the vehicle off the roadway and striking several objects at the roadside,” the police report explained. The document added the driver told officers he tried to regain control of the vehicle but couldn’t override Autopilot.

This isn’t the first time a Tesla owner has blamed a crash on Autopilot. The California-based company normally accesses the vehicle’s data logs to piece together a precise idea of what happened before, during, and after the impact. The logs notably reveal whether the driver kept both hands on the steering wheel, whether the car warned the driver of imminent danger, and whether the brakes were applied to avoid a collision. In this case, Tesla hasn’t released its findings yet. It nonetheless stressed its cars and its Autopilot technology are both safe to use.

“Safety is the top priority at Tesla, and we engineer and build our cars with this in mind. We also ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles, including following the car’s instructions for remaining alert and present when using Autopilot, and to be prepared to take control at all times,” a representative from the company told Digital Trends via email.

The firm added drivers can easily override Autopilot by lightly touching the steering wheel or the brake pedal — anyone who has ever used cruise control will be familiar with this method. Tesla also cast doubts on the driver’s accusations by pointing out the brakes can cut power to the electric motors regardless of what Autopilot instructs them to do, and by noting that it’s possible to override the steering assist function by turning the wheel in the desired direction of travel. In other words, from Tesla’s perspective, regaining control of a vehicle traveling with Autopilot engaged shouldn’t be a problem.

“Since we launched Autopilot in 2015, we are not aware of a single instance in which Autopilot refused to disengage,” the representative concluded.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.


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?

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.

2020 Lincoln Corsair crossover is small in size, but big on luxury

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair made its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. It replaces the MKC as the smallest crossover in Lincoln's lineup and shares underpinnings with the 2020 Ford Escape.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift 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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.
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!