Tesla driver on ‘autopilot’ crashes into police car while watching film

A Tesla driver crashed into a police car after allegedly watching a film while his vehicle was on autopilot.

A North Carolina state trooper and a Nash County deputy said it happened while they were responding to a previous crash on Highway 64.

Devainder Goli’s car hit the deputy’s vehicle first, according to local media. That vehicle then hit the trooper’s car, pushing both officers to the ground, police said.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The inside of a Tesla vehicle. File pic
Image: Tesla says autopilot mode requires ‘active driver supervision’. File pic

Mr Goli, from the state’s capital city, Raleigh, has been charged with watching television while operating a vehicle and violating the move-over law.

He is reported be a doctor working in emergency medicine.

Tesla says its autopilot system is designed to “assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving”.

More from North Carolina

It adds on its website that the software “enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane”.

But it warns that it “requires active driver supervision” and does not make the car autonomous.

The company’s chief executive Elon Musk said last month that its engineers were “very close” to developing a completely autonomous driving system, the basics of which he is confident will be completed this year.

For now, however, the autopilot feature is only intended for driver assistance and a driver must be ready to intervene at all times, the manufacturer says.

The deadly collision happened in California in March 2018. Pic: KTVU/NBC News
Image: Apple engineer Walter Huang died when his Tesla hit a concrete barrier in March 2018. Pic: KTVU/NBC News

Earlier this year, Tesla was criticised for a lack of safeguards in its autopilot system, following a fatal crash in California.

Apple engineer Walter Huang died when his self-driving Tesla Model X hit a concrete barrier near Mountain View in March 2018.

There was another incident last month, when authorities in Arizona said a man from California was driving a Tesla on autopilot when it hit a state trooper’s SUV on the side of a road and pushed it into an ambulance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun investigations into more than a dozen Tesla crashes dating back to at least 2016 – when it believes autopilot was in use.

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