Ever since the very publicized fatal Florida accident in a Model S while the Autopilot was activated, Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver assist system has been getting its reputation tarnished in the media. Autopilot took blame for a few subsequent incidents, despite nothing currently pointing to the system being the cause of any of the accidents – though NHTSA is now probing the Autopilot over two of them.
Now we learn of yet another crash where the Autopilot was reportedly at play. A Tesla Model X crashed in Montana Saturday night resulting in the SUV driving through a guardrail and going off the road. The driver blames the Autopilot but Tesla has yet to chime in…
Based on the pictures of the aftermath, the vehicle appears to be totaled with the front passenger side being completely torn off, including the wheel, but fortunately, both occupants are reportedly OK.
After the accident, a friend of the driver took to the Tesla Motors Club forum to share pictures of the aftermath and relay the driver’s story:
“The car was in Autopilot at speed between 56-60 mph, the car drove off the road and hit the guard rail wood posts. I questioned him on how can Autopilot drove off the road by itself, he said he also want to find out.”
The accident happened in Whitehall, Montana. Based on the pictures and the information relayed by his friend, the driver appears to claim that he was driving on Autopilot set between 56-60 mph on a road without a center divider, when the vehicle drove off the road and hit a road guard made of wooden posts (pictures via Eresan on TMC):
The driver couldn’t get a signal for his cellphone at the crash site and couldn’t reach Tesla right after the accident, according to his friend on TMC. Electrek contacted representatives at the company to ask for more information and we will update if we hear back.
Tesla doesn’t recommend to use the Autosteer feature of the Autopilot on a road without a center divider and since the release of the 7.1 software update, it limits the speed of the system to the speed limit of the road plus an additional 5 mph.
The pictures of the aftermath show that the vehicle received substantial damage on the passenger side (pictures via Eresan on TMC – click for higher resolution):