Tesla self-driving car blamed for eight vehicle pile up
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A driver told authorities his Tesla’s self-driving software was to blame for an eight-car pile up in San Francisco.
Nine people sustained minor injuries after their cars were involved in the pile up on Bay Bridge on 24 November.
The California Highway Patrol traffic crash report seen by CNN outlined how the Tesla Model S was moving at around 55 mph and had moved into the far left-hand lane, but then it braked suddenly, knocking its speed down to about 20mph.
This sudden slowing ended up triggering a chain reaction that resulted in the other eight car crash.
According to the report, the California Highway Patrol could not confirm if ‘full self-driving’ mode was active at the time of the crash.
A spokesperson told CNN that it would not determine if ‘full self-driving’ was active, and Tesla would have that information.
Tesla’s full self-driving mode had been rolled out to all North American users the same day as the pileup. The mode had previously only been available to drivers who had a high safety rating.
In a post on Twitter, Tesla boss Elon Musk wrote: “Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta is now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming you have bought this option.
“Congrats to Tesla Autopilot/AI team on achieving a major milestone!”
However, the company warns drivers that full self-driving is still in beta testing and that ‘must be used with additional caution’.
A note on the console reads: "It may do the wrong thing at the wrong time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent.”
In February, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it was investigating reports of Tesla braking unexpectedly while motorist were using Autopilot.
NHSTA said the braking occurs ‘without warning, at random, and often repeatedly in a single drive’.
It claimed it had received 354 complaints of unexpected braking in the previous nine month period.
One owner told NHSTA he was driving his 2021 Tesla Model Y at 80 mph when the ‘car braked hard and decelerated from 80 mph to 69 mph in less than a second. The braking was so violent, my head snapped forward and I almost lost control of the car’.
NHTSA told CNN a few days after the crash last month that it was gathering addition information from Tesla and law enforcement.