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Tesla car on autopilot crashes into police vehicles on freeway

2018/12/12 22:33:00

Photo courtesy of the National Highway Police Bureau

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) A Tesla sedan on autopilot crashed into two police patrol cars parked on the side of a freeway in northern Taiwan Tuesday night but caused no casualties, according to traffic police.

The driver in the Tesla electric car had turned on its autonomous driving assistant system shortly he entered the north-bound National Freeway No. 3, traveling from Miaoli, police said Wednesday.

At the 99.3 kilometer mark on the Hsinchu section of the freeway, four traffic police officers were dealing with an accident on the inside lane and the two police vehicles were parked on the side of the road, according to Lin Tien-kan (林天淦), a deputy division chief at the National Highway Police Bureau.

He said the police had put up a barricade of 12 traffic cones and eight warning lamps about 100 meters ahead of the accident site.

However, the Tesla car did not slow down and it crashed through the barricade and into police vehicles, Lin said, adding that the police officers were not injured.

During questioning, the driver said that he was exhausted after a 16-hour workday and had turned on the autopilot of the Tesla Model S soon after he entered the freeway.

The man was fined for failing to pay attention to the road while driving, Lin said, adding that the driver was not intoxicated.

It was the first reported traffic accident in Taiwan involving Tesla's flagship automated vehicle, which it advertises on its Taiwan website as making driving "safer and easier."

While Taiwan's traffic regulations do not allow the use of a "full autonomous driving function" on the road, Tesla offers its customers in Taiwan an online upgrade to the full autopilot system, according to a report in the local Apple Daily.

(By Wu Rui-chi and Elizabeth Hsu)
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