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Tesla Autopilot tried to kill me!

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Published on Oct 15, 2015

I am the proud owner of a 2015 Tesla SP90D, purchased with all available options. It is the best car I have ever owned and I love it dearly. I also own a large chunk of Tesla stock. Today my car received the anticipated version 7 software update and I was anxious to try out Autopilot near my home. After several seconds of successful hands-free driving, all hell broke loose. My car was tracking the car in front of me to successfully steer, but I was going closer to the speed limit and that car eventually drifted far ahead of me. Shortly after that, another car was coming in my car's direction from the opposite side of the road. I can only guess at what happened next. My car suddenly veered to the left, crossing the double-yellow road divider line right into its path. Had I not reacted quickly to jerk the steering wheel in the opposite direction, I might have clipped it. I post this in the hopes that it will prevent any losses to anyone using Autopilot in similar circumstances and in the sincere hope that Tesla can address the issue as soon as possible if the software can somehow be improved in detecting both oncoming vehicles and cross-traffic lane dividers to avoid steering into oncoming traffic.

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can't help but ask myself how much I'll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I am beginning to find
That I should be the one behind the wheel

(Incubus)

There's no hiding for me
I'm forced to deal with what I feel
There is no distraction to mask what is real
I could pull the steering wheel

(Twenty-One Pilots)

You can't go on
Thinking nothing's wrong
Who's gonna drive you home tonight?

(The Cars)

To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email me for permission via YouTube.

ADDENDUM 10.23.2015

Several media reports have misunderstood my claim that I "ignored the car's warnings to grab the wheel." My statement was referring to the Autosteer software release notes, not the dashboard warning system. The release notes recommend you keep your hands on the wheel at all times, which completely defeats the entire purpose of the Autosteer feature. Not even Tesla CEO Elon Musk leaves his hands on the wheel when demoing Autosteer to the press. I never ignored any dashboard warnings to take control of the car. As soon as Autosteer failed and an audible warning occurred, I took control of the vehicle immediately. The time that passed between the warning I received and my taking control was less than 1 second. The car had started veering left BEFORE any warning was received. You can also see this occur at the beginning of the video. The car veers left OVER THE DOUBLE YELLOW LINE while Autosteer remains functioning with no warnings at all. I have been contacted by a Tesla Autopilot engineer and have submitted all information requested so he could analyze the vehicle logs. It was only after Tesla deleted my post about this incident on their Forums discussion section of their website that I agreed to let Storyful distribute the video to other media outlets, not as an act of spite but as a way to make sure a conversation about this important issue is continued.

UP NEXT: My first experience with a drone doesn't fare much better... https://youtu.be/603T_ULIcsM

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