Tesla Hits Parked Police Car, Autopilot Blamed: Waymo vs Tesla

Hours ago there was yet another reported Tesla autopilot crash with a parked vehicle.

I picked up the image from a BBC report.

The amusing quote of the day is from NBC News.

"Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents," the company said in a statement.

Simple Question

Why is it that a Tesla cannot stay in its own lane?

To hit a parked car or a ramp is proof that it cannot.

On May 25, an Unofficial European Drive Tour came to a screeching halt when a Tesla Model 3 slammed into a median.

You You Xue, an early Tesla Model 3 owner, created the project to tour North America and Europe and show the new electric vehicle to the many reservation holders.

You You Xue commented “Vehicle was engaged on Autopilot at 120 km/h. Car suddenly veered right without warning and crashed into the centre median. (edit: divider at the exit fork). I’m unharmed.”

Electrek was sceptical.

When he says that it hits the median at an “exit fork”, the accident sounds reminiscent of the fatal Model X accident on Autopilot in Mountain View where it confused the median for a lane.

But in that case, Tesla showed that the driver had a lot of the time to take control.

While using Autopilot, the driver always needs to stay attentive and be ready to take control at all time.

As for You You’s accident, he makes it sounds like he had no time to respond as the car “suddenly veered”, but I have never seen Autopilot do that before.

I am not saying that You You is lying, but it is certainly a strange situation. Also, it looks like he was driving late at night and has been driving for days.

If it’s not a misuse of Autopilot and the system indeed “suddenly veered” into the median, then it might be the first example of Autopilot causing an accident, but I think we need to have the data logs before we get into that.

Revised Statement

I offer this revisions to Tesla's official statement so that it makes some bit of sense:

"It hasalways been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious toanyaccident ."

I recommend this additional statement: "Frankly, we advise not using autopilot at all."

Comparison to Waymo

A reader, citing Tesla crashes, taunted me just yesterday with a silly comment regarding self-driving vehicles and my proposed timeline for them.

Tesla is not self-driving, Waymo is. Someone does not need at the wheel at all times to take control of a Waymo.

Waymo's accident rate is at least as good as the public at large and it will get better, much better.

Electrek was overly generous to Tesla.

Tesla's autopilot clearly cannot even stay in its own lane!

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (18)
No. 1-18

the problem with functionality which appears to work reliably is it instills a false sense of security and lulls the observer into complacency.


One has to wonder why Tesla has not yet been buried in product liability lawsuits for this. Less insidious defects have caused other manufacturer's to go bankrupt, such as when people were injured because Blitz's fuel cans could explode when they were misused to pour gasoline on an open flame:

It appears that some attorneys might still be trying to recruit clients for Blitz claims despite Blitz filing bankruptcy in 2012:


I recently learned that an acquaintance has a Tesla model X. He loves the car but never uses the autopilot. He said he felt like it didn't 'see' the big picture. Especially when the right white lane marker moved away such as at the start of a right turn lane or exit ramp. The car would start drifting toward the turn or exit rather than stay on the road.


"Waymo's accident rate is at least as good as the public at large" it would be interesting to know if you have a source for that assertion. I can't find any.


Tesla is just helping us weed the herd a bit. We should thank Musk!