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Tesla Driver in Crash: 'I Think I Had Autopilot On'

It is unclear whether Autopilot was activated
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 27, 2018 12:33 AM CDT
In this Aug. 8, 2018, file photo a Tesla emblem is seen on the back end of a Model S in the Tesla showroom in Santa Monica, Calif.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(Newser) – A Tesla driver who said he thought his car was in Autopilot mode crashed into the back of a firetruck in San Jose early Saturday. The California Highway Patrol says the Tesla rear-ended a fire engine that was stopped with its emergency lights activated along US-101 around 1am. The 37-year-old driver, Michael Tran, told officers, "I think I had Autopilot on." The Mercury News reports the Tesla's speed was allegedly about 65mph. Tran was later arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the two firefighters in the firetruck were not injured and that Tran and a female passenger in the Tesla were taken to San Jose Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot mode has come under scrutiny following other recent crashes. The carmaker says the function is not designed to avoid a collision and warns drivers not to rely on it entirely. It is unclear whether Autopilot was activated in this case. Tesla says in a statement that it "has not yet received any data from the car, but we are working to establish the facts of the incident." Oddly, Electrek reports it's apparently the third time a Tesla "reportedly on Autopilot" has crashed into a fire truck in California this year: The two previous incidents occurred in Culver City and San Jose.

(Read more Tesla stories.)

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