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Suspected Autopilot DUI, Glendale, CA

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,463
8,622
Visalia, CA
The driver first crashed into a road side wall and continued on its way. It's a weird chase after the Autopilot:

1) Police should not slow down an Autopilot the same way as a non-Autopilot one. In the youtube clip, the patrol car was zigzagging in front of the Tesla. Autopilot are trained to recognize the rear of vehicles and to zigzag is to reduce the perfect view of the rear of the vehicle.

2) Majority of the time, Autopilot should be very good at centering a lane but it's interesting to see this particular Model 3 was hugging the left painted solid line of the lane and not centering it.

3) What does the phrase mean: "ABC 7 reported that the Tesla might have been on autopilot when it was finally stopped but CHP could not confirm that."?


The reporter did say that the driver was incapacitated, not able to take control of the vehicle... and praised the autopilot for preventing "a serious accident".

So, is it reasonable to believe the Autopilot was on based on a small video clip?


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Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
798
994
Vancouver, BC
3) What does the phrase mean: "ABC 7 reported that the Tesla might have been on autopilot when it was finally stopped but CHP could not confirm that."?
How can CHP confirm that AP is on? They'd have to get close enough to the screen to see the icons and also to know how to recognize the icons. Would waking/alerting the driver by banging on the window likely make the driver touch the brake when he saw the condition of things, thus disengaging AP, or opening the door might do that too. Does AP disengage if it's stopped by a rolling police stop? How did the driver go so long without driver monitoring stopping the car, defeat device? Is there also a citation for that?

Once AP is disengaged how can they tell whether it was on prior to the stop? Do they have to contact Tesla, assuming the driver didn't just admit it? If the driver was indeed incapacitated (say asleep) and the car was driving for a period of time should there be an implicit assumption that AP must have been engaged, or the car would have crashed well before the stop, and could not have stopped for the rolling stop?
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,463
8,622
Visalia, CA
How can CHP confirm that AP is on?
I guess California Highway Patrol needs to learn about Autopilot since it has become popular in the state.

At least, they should take a cell phone picture of the instrument cluster so more trained people at the headquarter would know.

...Would waking/alerting the driver by banging on the window likely make the driver touch the brake when he saw the condition of things, thus disengaging AP, or opening the door might do that too.
Good point.
Does AP disengage if it's stopped by a rolling police stop?...

When the car in front stops such as in this case with the lead patrol car, AP does not automatically disengage itself.

Most of the time it's still active and if the lead patrol car starts to move forward, the Tesla would automatically follow again too.

In some rare cases, the AP would automatically issue a brake "Hold" and the Tesla is stationary until the driver presses on the accelerator pedal.

How did the driver go so long without driver monitoring stopping the car, defeat device?
Could be but it's only 15 minutes from the last crash to the roadside wall so it's possible that the driver was able to respond to the nagging alarms.
Is there also a citation for that?
DUI for sure but I am not sure about being cited for altering the intended function of the car.
Once AP is disengaged how can they tell whether it was on prior to the stop?
Not just by looking at the instrument cluster.
...Do they have to contact Tesla, assuming the driver didn't just admit it?...
Tesla protects your privacy so I doubt it's easy to access unless there's a fatality.

CHP would have to go to court to get the data but that would incur more costs and resources. Whether AP or not AP, the charge is still the same, so it might not be a priority for CHP to find out about AP status.

...If the driver was indeed incapacitated (say asleep) and the car was driving for a period of time should there be an implicit assumption that AP must have been engaged, or the car would have crashed well before the stop, and could not have stopped for the rolling stop?..
Most likely the driver was alert enough to respond to the nagging alarms but not much else.

If the AP was not on, the steering would be erratic and not controlled. The braking was very controlled as seen by the brake light strip above the trunk as the lead patrol car obstructed the clear path in front.

If the driver didn't answer the nagging alarms, the car would stop with flashing hazard lights (not flashing in this case, so it was not an AP automatic stop due to non-responses).
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,463
8,622
Visalia, CA
More details: There's an audio recording from the dispatch. It appears that the husband was driving a Volkswagen behind his wife's Tesla while he called and reported that his wife was unconscious and the Tesla was driving itself:


Too bad that he didn't know how Autopilot works so that he could drive his Volkswagen in front of the Tesla to stop it.
 

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