DRAMATIC footage shows the moment a Tesla car bursts into flames after a crash reportedly caused by a failure of its assisted driving features.
The electric vehicle, Tesla Model 3, hit a parked tow truck while travelling on a ring road outside the Russian capital of Moscow late on Saturday.
The Tesla Model 3 burst into flames after crashing into a parked two truck[/caption]
Driver Alexey Tretiyakov, 41, who was hospitalised, had his hands on the wheel at the time of the crash[/caption]
The car’s driver, businessman Alexey Tretiyakov, 41, and his two children escaped the car before it was engulfed, but were rushed to hospital.
Tretiyakov was left with a broken leg, while his children reportedly suffered bruises and concussion.
He later said the car had been in “drive assistance mode”, in which enhanced safety features are enabled but the driver’s hands remain on the wheel, and that he had failed to see the truck.
Tesla’s website states: “Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
However, the company also says its automatic emergency breaking feature is “designed to automatically engage the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision”.
It is not clear whether Mr Tretiyakov’s car automatically slowed itself before colliding with the truck.
ENGULFED IN SMOKE
Video of the initial explosion, captured by another driver, saw black smoke engulfing passing cars as well as smaller explosions coming from within the Tesla.
Tretiyakov, head of investment management company AriCapital, told Russian network REN TV he had been holding the steering wheel, as Tesla tells drivers they must, and had not seen the parked vehicle.
“I was going along Moscow Ring road in the left lane with a speed of 100kph (62mph) and did not notice a parked GAZelle tow truck,” he said.
“My Tesla Model 3 hit the tow truck with its left side and caught fire.”
“It was not on full-scale automatic control – in Model 3 there is the function ‘driver’s assistant’ only, so I was holding the wheel.”
He said all three passengers were wearing seat belts, adding: “I needed help to get out of my car because one of my legs was broken.”
He also suffered a chest injury and continues to be treated in hospital, but said he hoped his children would be discharged soon.
The incident happened at around 9pm local time (6pm GMT) on Saturday 10th.
The two truck had been aiding a Lada car which had broken down.
Tesla did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
AUTONOMOUS VS. HUMAN CONTROL
Car manufacturers are still developing cars with autopilot and autonomous modes that are demonstrably safer than human-controlled vehicles.
In March 2018, a woman in Arizona became what is thought to have been the first person killed in a collision with a fully-driverless car.
Elaine Herzberg, 49, was pushing her bike over a pedestrian crossing when she was hit by Volvo XC90 SUV that had a human monitor behind the wheel but was in autonomous mode.
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Last week, the family of a man killed in Florida when his Tesla crashed while in autopilot mode filed a lawsuit against the automaker, WPTV reported.
Figures released by the US Department of Transportation in October showed that 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017.
Black smoke could be seen billowing from the car after the crash[/caption]
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