Tesla sedan hits fire truck during self-driving test in Los Angeles

That fact became painfully clear to one intoxicated California driver, who apparently believed that using his Tesla's "autopilot" feature should have prevented him from crashing into a parked Culver City fire truck.

The auto had been travelling at 65mph before the accident near Los Angeles, Culver City firefighters union said. The driver reports the vehicle was on Autopilot.

The California Highway Patrol said in a tweet that the man's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

While Tesla cars come with technology to enhance its "autopilot" system-a mix of cameras and radar-they aren't autonomous vehicles. It warns drivers not to delegate responsibility for watching the road to the onboard computer. This is the second accident involving a Tesla on auto-pilot in the past two weeks.

"Autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver".

The driver says, he was not driving. If the driver never responds, the vehicle will gradually slow down until it stops and the flashing hazard lights will come on.

NTSB previously found that aspects of Tesla's "Autopilot" were a factor in the 2016 fatal crash in Williston, Florida that killed 40-year-old Joshua Brown (Details here). "If you don't say anything, the auto will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination or just home if nothing is on the calendar". Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, the driver of the crash emerged unscathed.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it was gathering information on the accident but it hadn't decided whether to open a formal investigation. At the time, the NTSB criticised Tesla amongst other auto makers for measuring driver awareness by tracking steering wheel movement.

It's happened again, this time on Monday morning on Interstate 405 near Culver City.

  • Eleanor Harrison