A man in New Jersey driving a Tesla Model X recently crashed his car and blamed the car’s Autopilot feature.
32-year-old Eric Carter told police he believes his Tesla Model X was “confused” on a highway in New Brunswick. He claimed that sensors misread diagonal white lines on the road as a new lane, as part of the car’s Autopilot setting.
According to the police report, the SUV was in the right lane of the highway when it veered into the exit lane before hitting two supports for a traffic sign and then going over the curb into a grassy area. Carter said he could not correct the course of the car because the steering wheel locked itself in place.
“The driver was shaken. He was panicked by the accident,” North Brunswick Police Captain Brian Hoiberg said. “Just the feeling of not having any control.”
Police say there were no signs of intoxication on Carter’s part, no other witnesses, and no summons issued. Nobody was injured.
“There is no way to independently corroborate the drivers account of the accident due to technological errors,” responding officers wrote in the police report.
Carter hopes that accidents like these will help Tesla to correct their technology in the future. The company, however, was adamant that the Autopilot was not responsible for the accident.
“Since we launched Autopilot in 2015, we are not aware of a single instance in which Autopilot refused to disengage,” they released in a statement. Tesla also said that Autopilot can easily be overridden by tapping the breaks. They did not mention whether they had reached out to Carter or had investigated the incident.
Riders of Tesla cars are still expected to manage the car while in Autopilot mode. The company claims there has only been one accident for every 2.91 million Autopilot rides taken. At least two people have died in Tesla cars driving in Autopilot mode since 2016.