Tesla Model 3 hit a parked police car in Orlando, driver said she was ‘in Autopilot’
The driver of a 2019 Tesla Model 3 told officers she was using Autopilot, Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system, when she collided with a police car and a Mercedes SUV Saturday morning around 5 a.m. ET in Orlando, Florida.
No injuries or fatalities were reported as a result of the incident.
An investigation into the cause of the crash has not yet been completed. It remains to be determined whether Tesla’s Autopilot caused or contributed to the incident.
According to a statement from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), at the time of the incident, a trooper had stopped to assist a driver whose 2012 Mercedes GLK 350 was disabled at the side of the Interstate 4 (I-4) highway in Orlando. The trooper had already stepped out of his parked police vehicle, a 2018 Dodge Charger, by the time the Tesla Model 3 ran into it.
The front right of the Tesla hit the left side of the police car and then hit the Mercedes SUV.
According to emails to CNBC and a press statement from FHP on Saturday, police are notifying Tesla and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration about the incident.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The crash comes amid federal scrutiny of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems.
As CNBC previously reported, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot feature after it determined that the system had been in use in a string of Tesla collisions with first responder vehicles that led to 17 injuries and a fatality over the past few years.
After that investigation was revealed, two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Tesla’s claims around its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capabilities.
Tesla includes Autopilot as a standard offering in all its newer vehicles. The company also sells a premium driver assistance system, sold under the moniker Full Self-Driving (FSD). FSD costs $10,000 upfront or $199 per month for subscribers in the U.S.
Both Autopilot and FSD require drivers to remain attentive behind the wheel at all times. They do not make Tesla vehicles autonomous.