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Tesla in autonomous mode hits parked police car

30 May 2018

A Tesla in semi-autonomous mode hit a semi-truck in the exact same area a year ago, and police say they're looking into whether lane markings or other features in the area are creating difficulties for the technology.

Authorities say a Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked police cruiser in Southern California.

Sergeant Jim Cota, a public information officer for the Laguna Beach Police Department, posted photos of the incident's aftermath on Twitter.

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The police vehicle was unoccupied at the time, and the Tesla driver received minor injuries, police said, adding that the crash was reported to the department around 11 a.m. "There's axle damage. It wouldn't be worth repairing", he said.

[Police Sgt. Jim Cota] said the luxury electric vehicle crashed in nearly the same place as another Tesla about a year ago. In March, a Model X hit a highway divider while on autopilot in California, killing the driver. The driver, Walter Huang, died after being taken to the hospital.

Tesla has warned that its Autopilot system doesn't prevent all accidents. "Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the auto impervious to all accidents".

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who issued a scathing attack on media credibility yesterday, has been vocal against those who criticize Tesla cars, despite growing concern about their safety. Tesla has said that while its autopilot system is supposed to help detect nearby vehicles and avoid collisions, it shouldn't be used in areas with intersections, stop signs, red lights or suddenly changing traffic patterns.

However, last week Tesla settled a lawsuit alleging the semi-autonomous autopilot feature was "essentially unusable and demonstrably risky".

On Thursday another incident was reported involving a semi-autonomous vehicle in Utah. A Tesla driving in Autopilot hit a stationary fire engine in Utah in May.

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Tesla has maintained Autopilot should not be viewed as a fully autonomous feature.

Tesla in autonomous mode hits parked police car