Video shows Tesla nearly plowing into train crossing in autopilot mode

Frederic Legrand – COMEO/ShutterStock @ArtemR/X Kittyfly/ShutterStock (Licensed)

Tesla driver says autopilot failed to recognize railroad crossing—shares video of car nearly hitting train

Can Teslas recognize trains?

 

Marlon Ettinger

Tech

A Tesla car owner shared a video on an owners’ forum of their car nearly driving head-on into a passing train at a rail crossing while in Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode earlier this month. 

The video, which the poster initially uploaded to the Tesla Motors Club (TMC) forum, shows the car driving in heavy fog down a road that initially looks clear except for a couple of lights in the distance. After about five seconds, it’s clear that the lights at the end of the road are mounted on a crossbar in front of rail tracks, where a train carrying cargo is passing.

Despite the train being visible on the dashcam recording for a couple of seconds, the car continues heading straight towards the track until the driver manually takes control, slamming under and through the crossbar to swerve to a stop as the train passes by.

According to the poster, who goes by cdoytii on the forum, the incident wasn’t the first time the car’s self-driving feature had issues while trying to navigate a train crossing.

“I have owned my Tesla for less than a year, and within the last six months, it has twice attempted to drive directly into a passing train while in FSD mode,” the poster wrote, noting that the most recent incident, where the viral footage is from, happened on May 8.

According to the poster, he’s looking for a lawyer to take the case but hasn’t had much luck yet because he wasn’t injured in the crash, despite a picture he posted showing the car’s wheel bent at a more than 90-degree angle and the front hood dinged up. From the picture, it looks like the car is a Tesla Model 3.

Some posters in the TMC thread and on X and Threads, where the video was shared, quickly called out the driver for blaming the FSD feature. They pointed out that FSD mode doesn’t mean that you can be completely hands-off in navigating the car.

“Jurors have consistently favored Tesla in past Autopilot cases citing the inattentiveness of drivers, not the design faults,” one user called Tam posted on the TMC thread. “In [a] case [where] the driver was definitely inattentive with cellphone video games, Tesla settled it.”

According to Tesla’s support page about Full Self-Driving mode, engaging the feature still requires “active driver supervision and do[es] not make the vehicle autonomous.”

But other posters questioned whether it was fair to blame drivers for misinterpreting just how reliable the feature is—given that it’s called Full Self-Driving.

“Why Tesla is allowed to call it “FULL”, self driving is beyond me. The name misleads so many people,” posted @FixorFkit in the X thread.

“Oh, I got it, FSD stands for Full Self Dying?” joked @ArtemR, who shared the video on X, in the same thread. 

At the end of April, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the results of an investigation into Musk’s company, detailing hundreds of crashes and dozens of deaths linked to Autopilot and Full Self-Driving.

According to that report, drivers using the features “were not sufficiently engaged in the driving task,” and the tech failed to ensure that drivers paid enough attention while driving to avoid crashes.

Last week, a judge ruled that Tesla could be sued in a class action case for “negligence and fraud based claims” about the extent of the company’s claims about full automation for their cars, reported Reuters. The promise of full self-driving being just around the corner was cited by customers bringing the case, who bought the cars and even paid a premium on them because they were convinced by Musk’s boasts about the technology.


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