Tesla Model X in Autopilot mode was traveling at a speed of 54 miles per hour (about 86.9 kilometers). Hit a police car. Five police officers who were conducting a routine traffic check were injured in the crash, as was the driver who was pulled over by police.
Reports say the driver of the Model X was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Still, the five police officers who were injured filed a lawsuit against Tesla. The lawsuit accuses Tesla of failing to adequately address problems with its Autopilot driver assistance system, seeking between $1 million and $20 million in damages and permanent disability.
A Wall Street Journal investigation successfully obtained footage of the 2019 Model X, and it turns out the driver received 150 warnings from Autopilot before the crash. The warnings advised the driver to take over and lasted 34 minutes.
The 2019 Model X doesn’t have an interior camera, so the car’s Autopilot driver-monitoring system relies primarily on being able to detect torque on the steering wheel. Considering the driver received 150 warnings, it appears the driver was able to apply enough torque to keep Autopilot active.
According to reports, after receiving the 150th warning from the vehicle, the driver of the intoxicated Model X eventually followed Autopilot’s advice to take over. However, at this moment the Model X is only 2.5 seconds and 33.8 meters away from the parked police car. The Wall Street Journal noted that Autopilot attempted to stop the Model X, but the system appeared to be disengaged, expecting the driver to take over.
Tesla has always insisted that the responsibility lay with the allegedly drunk Model X driver, and to some extent, Tesla has a point, because without Autopilot vehicles, if the driver does not pay attention to the road, the driver may immediately go to sleep. Accidents occur and more people are injured. Having said that, if Autopilot gives 150 warnings, it is clear that the driver is not concentrating on the road, and Tesla Autopilot should be programmed to pull over to the side of the road to be safer.