Further validating the NHTSA investigation into such things, another Tesla flying on Autopilot has crashed into a police car conducting a routine traffic stop, this time in Florida, reports Automotive News.
It may or may not be the fault of Autopilot itself. It is certainly the driver’s responsibility, because either way, he shouldn’t be allowing his car to smash into police cars on the side of the road. Jalopnik makes a convincing argument about how awful Level 2 autonomy systems such as, but not limited to, Autopilot are. They can drive under ordinary circumstances, but it doesn’t take much to confuse them, at which point the human driver is expected to take over immediately. We’re bad at doing this. It’s not that we’re bad drivers (well, some of us are) — it’s just human nature.
At this point, just add one more incident for NHTSA to investigate, and be glad that nobody got hurt — especially the cop who might’ve been standing on the side of the road if the timing had been different.
Two weeks ago, a Cessna 172 making a routine approach to Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport in Ontario, Canada, collided with a police drone operating in the area, reports Jalopnik.
Despite being a student pilot under the watchful eye of an instructor, it appears that it was the police who were in the wrong here. Drones may not fly within three nautical miles of an airport, or above 400 feet anywhere, without special authorization. This drone was struck one mile out from the airport at 500 feet altitude. You’d think law enforcement would actually follow the law.
It’s a good thing the drone struck the Cessna’s body. A few feet lower and it could’ve gone right through the windshield, with disastrous consequences.
I have fond memories of many autocrosses on the runways of the old Fort Devens. I grew up nearby, and used to dream of taking a car out there and tearing around. In that way, I got to live a childhood dream.
A Cessna 152, however, can’t turn on a dime the way my Mazda Miata could. An unfortunate student pilot in Hollywood, Florida, learned this the hard way when she tried to exit the runway after landing but took the turn too fast, leaving the runway and smacking a taxiway sign. General Aviation News has the story. (Thanks to Airforceproud95 for the appropriate image.)
It’s been a long time coming, but it was crashes with emergency vehicles that prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving feature. Since January 2018, there have been 17 injuries and one death in 11 crashes, all of which involve Teslas operating in Autopilot mode colliding with vehicles at first responder scenes. This investigation covers 765,000 Teslas, all models, from 2014 to 2021.
Read more at Reuters.