Tesla Owner: My Driverless Car Went 'Rogue'

It hit a parked trailer; company blames human error
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2016 12:49 PM CDT
Tesla Owner: My Driverless Car Went 'Rogue'
Tesla Motors' Model 3.   (Tesla Motors via AP)

The owner of a Tesla Model S says his car went "rogue" while nobody was inside it and drove into a parked trailer. Tesla's response: It was the guy's own fault. Jared Overton of Utah says he parked his Tesla in front of a business, behind a vehicle with a trailer, while running errands in Lindon on April 29, per KSL. He paused briefly outside the car to answer questions from a curious employee of the business, went inside, then came out after a few minutes later to find his car had magically migrated into the trailer, per BGR. “We were trying to figure out how on earth the vehicle started on its own,” says Overton. Tesla looked at the vehicle logs and concluded that Overton had activated the car's "Summon" feature, which it allows it to park without a driver. And the company lays the blame on Overton, not on a software glitch.

"The incident occurred as a result of the driver not being properly attentive to the vehicle's surroundings while using the Summon feature or maintaining responsibility for safely controlling the vehicle at all times," Tesla says, adding the Summon feature is in beta and drivers who use it agree to monitor the vehicle. Overton doesn't think he activated the feature, and a post at the Verge raises the possibility that he did so accidentally while answering questions about the car. Even so, "under no circumstances should a production vehicle autonomously collide with a parked vehicle mere feet ahead of it," writes Chris Ziegler. Simply put, he adds, the software needs to be smarter than fallible humans. The damage to the car was a relatively scant $700, but, says Overton, "I will not feel safe with my little boy playing in the garage or the driveway if there's the potential for a rogue vehicle." (A man died when his Tesla went into a pool.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.