A Tesla Model 3 has been filmed driving directly into an overturned truck on a highway in Taiwan, with reports suggesting the driver was possibly relying on the electric carmaker's Autopilot system.
Security cameras captured footage of the crash on Taiwan’s National Highway 1, with video clearly showing the car driving directly into the stationary truck despite a brief and last-minute attempt to brake.
???Tesla Model 3 plows info overturned truck on highway. I’m sure the driver was paying complete attention to the road and wasn’t relying on autopilot because he was told the car could drive itself....$TSLAQ pic.twitter.com/cHjueqH0j4— Fred Lambert is never getting his Roadster ? (@jsin86524368) June 1, 2020
Taiwanese media outlet SETN.com reported the driver, a 53-year-old male, "confessed to the police that the auxiliary system was turned on at the time and the self-driving state was not adopted".
The online publication also reported that drink driving was not involved in the incident and that no one was harmed.
While it's unclear what the term "auxiliary system" is referring to, some outlets have speculated the driver was not paying adequate attention to the road and was instead relying on Tesla's Autopilot system to detect and respond to potential hazards.
While video footage indicates the vehicle did brake before hitting the truck, it's not yet known whether it was the driver or the Autopilot system applying the brakes.
side better quality pic.twitter.com/9r3HpAdBzD— Fred Lambert is never getting his Roadster ? (@jsin86524368) June 1, 2020
Autopilot comes standard on all Tesla vehicles and is capable of steering, accelerating and braking automatically.
"Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous," Tesla cautions on its official website.
As standard, Tesla vehicles also receive automatic emergency braking and forward and side collision warning.
The Twitter user who first shared the now-viral video posted ensuing tweets that suggested the car's airbags also failed to deploy in the accident.
All that and not a single airbag in the car appears to have gone off. That should be the bigger story here pic.twitter.com/ssi9339vOO— Fred Lambert is never getting his Roadster ? (@jsin86524368) June 1, 2020
However, other Twitter users suggested this may have occurred because the truck's crumpled trailer sufficiently decelerated the car and prevented damage to the passenger compartment, thus removing the need for airbags to deploy.
There have been incidents similar to this one involving Tesla vehicles in the past, most notably a May 2016 crash that resulted in the death of a 40-year-old man after his Model S vehicle collided with a white tractor-trailer crossing its path.
Follow-up investigations conducted by Tesla indicated that the Autopilot system, which utilises a system of cameras, failed to differentiate the large white truck from an overhead road sign.
Radar tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false braking events— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2016
Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, are yet to comment on the incident. CarAdvice has reached out to Tesla Australia for comment on whether the incident involved an Autopilot failure.