Highway surveillance footage shows the Tesla Model S vehicle changing lanes and abruptly braking in the far-left lane of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, resulting in the crash.
The video and new photographs of the crash, obtained by The Intercept confirm witness accounts where the driver told police that he had been using Tesla’s new ‘Full Self-Driving’ feature.
According to reports, the Tesla moved into the left lane before the ‘left signal activated’ and its ‘brakes activated’, making it stop ‘directly in [the second vehicle’s] path of travel’.
The crash injured nine people, including a two-year-old child, and left traffic stopped for more than an hour.
The incident is only the latest in a string of Tesla-related accidents being investigated by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This particular crash occurred hours after its owner Elon Musk said Tesla would make FSD software available to anyone in North America who requested it. Previously, the software was only available to drivers with high safety scores.
In recent months, reports of ‘phantom braking’, where the vehicle slams on its brakes at high speeds, have increased with more than 100 such complaints filed with NHTSA in a three-month period, according to the Washington Post.
Tesla’s FSD software is sold as a $15,000 add-on to the vehicle itself, but it faces legal, regulatory and public scrutiny.
The police report on last month’s crash said that if FSD malfunctioned, the driver should have manually taken control.
Tesla maintains that it’s advanced self-driving technology requires ‘active driver supervision’ and that its vehicles ‘are not autonomous’ but critics say the company is overstating the capability of its features.
‘Elon Musk’s attitude towards road safety is reckless and extremely dangerous,’ said Dan O’Dowd, Founder of The Dawn Project, a tech safety group. ‘The Dawn Project’s tests have shown that Tesla Full Self-Driving will run down a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into the path of oncoming vehicles, speed in school zones with children present and run over a stroller,’
‘Yet Elon Musk decided to make Tesla’s Full Self-Driving available to “anyone in North America”, despite knowing about hundreds of critical safety defects,’
Musk’s car company is already on thin ice with the US safety regulator investigating its Autopilot system following a series of crashes.
Just this year, a Tesla crashed into a building causing nearly £286,692 in damages while another self-driving Tesla crashed into a £1.5 million private jet while being ‘summoned’.
Recent research showed that 58% of UK residents were uncomfortable using self-driving cars while 55% of them did not feel safe sharing the road with them