A 26-year old woman is in critical condition in hospital after allegedly being struck in Melbourne by a Tesla Model 3, which the driver claims was on Autopilot.
The victim was crossing Wattletree Road to board a tram in the south-east suburb of Armadale around 6:30am Tuesday when she was allegedly struck by the 23-year old driver.
The driver allegedly fled the scene, before returning later. She was subsequently charged with dangerous driving causing serious injury, failure to stop at the scene of an accident, and failure to render assistance.
9News has identified the driver as Sakshi Agrawal, who allegedly panicked and left the scene but returned with her partner less than three hours later, expressing remorse.
Ms Agrawal was granted bail at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday evening, despite the court hearing she was a potential flight risk as she’s in Australia on a bridging visa.
She reportedly told the court the car’s Autopilot was on, and that she thought she had more time to slow down before the tram stopped.
Her licence has also previously been suspended, and the Model 3 was wearing P-plates.
It was still dark at 6:30am when the collision occurred.
The victim, Nicole Lagos, was reportedly thrown 15m across the road. She’s currently at Alfred Hospital.
As a condition of her bail, Ms Agrawal has to report to a police station twice a week. She’s scheduled to appear before the court again on June 14.
This is reportedly the first collision involving a Tesla for Victoria’s Major Collision Investigation Unit.
Autopilot allows Tesla vehicles to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within a lane, but Tesla warns the Level 2 autonomous driving technology requires active driver supervision and doesn’t make its vehicles autonomous.
Drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
While there have been numerous well-publicised collisions overseas involving Tesla’s Autopilot technology, these have typically involved a vehicle striking another vehicle.
However, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is probing a July 26, 2021 crash that took place in New York and resulted in the death of a pedestrian.
52-year old Jean Louis was attempting to fix a flat tyre on his vehicle on the Long Island Expressway when he was struck by a driver in a Tesla believed to have been using Autopilot.
The driver stayed at the scene of the crash.