A Melbourne Tesla Model X owner claims his vehicle was on Autopilot when it veered into a barrier.

    The driver told 9News he’d been driving at less than 60km/h on Autopilot when the vehicle started shaking and veered out of control.

    He claimed he’d never experienced any issues with Autopilot before.

    The collision saw the vehicle badly damaged, losing one of its wheels and left sitting atop the guard rail. The driver was uninjured.

    It took place on Wurundjeri Way in the inner-city Melbourne neighbourhood of Docklands in peak hour traffic.

    The crash comes around two months after a more serious collision with a pedestrian involving a Melbourne driver who claimed to be using Autopilot.

    The victim was crossing Wattletree Road to board a tram in the south-east suburb of Armadale around 6:30am when she was allegedly struck by a 23-year old driver.

    She was thrown 15m and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

    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, and was granted bail.

    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 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.

    The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a probe into Autopilot last August, investigating 12 crashes involving the driver assist system.

    11 of these involved a Tesla colliding with an emergency vehicle parked on the road, while a 12th involved a parked Florida Department of Transportation truck responding to a previous crash on a highway.

    In one of these crashes, the driver was allegedly playing with his phone, while in two of the other crashes the drivers were allegedly driving under the influence. Most of the crashes also took place at night.

    No deaths were reported in these 12 cases, however the NHTSA is also 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.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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