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Tesla Model X On Autopilot Hits Police Motorcycle In Phoenix, Arizona

28 March 2017, 9:04 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
A Tesla Model X vehicle operating in Autopilot mode slightly hit a police motorcycle in Phoenix last week, just days before Uber's self-driving car got involved in a collision. Here's what happened.  ( Tesla )

A Tesla Model X vehicle on Autopilot was involved in a minor collision with a Phoenix police motorcycle last week, but nothing serious happened.

The Tesla Autopilot technology has previously stirred a great deal of controversy last year, when the first fatal Tesla car crash occurred, but this time things were not nearly as severe.

Tesla Autopilot Accident In Phoenix, Arizona

According to local publication The Arizona Republic, Phoenix police confirmed on Monday that a slight accident occurred when a Tesla Model X and a police officer on duty exited the Black Canyon Freeway heading to Utopia Road last week, on March 21.

The police officer was reportedly riding his motorcycle in front of the Tesla and stopped at a stoplight. The Tesla vehicle reportedly stopped only briefly, then started moving forward. The police officer jumped off the motorcycle and moved away, so the Tesla Model X only struck the fallen bike. Neither vehicle suffered any damage, or at least none was reported.

The police officer said the Tesla vehicle was moving at roughly 3 miles per hour. The driver behind the wheel of the Tesla Model X said the car was operating in Autopilot mode at the time of the accident, but investigators could not confirm this, said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Alan Pfohl.

The collision went under the radar until now because it was so minor, and it doesn't even warrant any further investigation. No vehicle was damaged, no driver was harmed and no citations were issued.

Pfohl said it was basically just a "tap," and it wouldn't have even been considered an accident under other circumstances.

"It wasn't even a reportable collision. If it wasn't involving an officer, we would not have even investigated it," he explained.

The police report has not been released yet, as it's still pending approval. Authorities have not disclosed the name of the Tesla driver or the police officer involved in the minor collision.

Tesla Autopilot Mode

Tesla's Autopilot mode is not designed as a fully automated driving technology, but more of an assistive one. It requires a human driver to be behind the wheel and remain engaged at all times. Tesla also notes that drivers should be in command of the cars after exiting highways, not rely on Autopilot.

So far, Tesla has been adding a number of advanced Autopilot features such as automatic braking, forward collision warning, auto steering and more, but no Tesla vehicle is fully self-driving.

Fully autonomous driving technology still has a way to go before it's ready and safe to hit the roads, but it's not there yet.

Just a few days ago, concerns regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles intensified again after a self-driving Uber car got into an accident in Tempe, Arizona. Uber suspended its autonomous driving testing program following the crash. The car was in self-driving mode at the time of the accident, with a human driver behind the wheel and another person in the passenger seat. No one was injured in that accident either, albeit the Uber self-driving car flipped onto its side.

Arizona does not require special permits or licensing for autonomous driving vehicles, which is why it's a go-to venue for testing self-driving technology for companies such as Tesla, Uber and others.

Until the technology gets more advanced, however, accidents are bound to happen during testing. On the bright side, these were minor collisions with no injuries.

© 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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