The Tesla autopilot witch hunt continues and does not stop at small town police reports from Germany.
When Tesla's Autopilot is involved in an accident it is huge news. Every day over 3,000 people die in car crashes globally, but if a Tesla on Autopilot rear-ends a bus on the German autobahn it is the worst.
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Today a small town police report is going around the world thanks to AP and Reuters. The police station in Ratzeburg in Northern Germany released a press-release titled: Autopilot did not work - collision with bus.
According to the report, a Tesla Model S rear-ended a Danish bus on the Autobahn A24 to Hamburg. The 29 passenger bus from Denmark was overtaking a truck and when getting back onto the right lane was hit by a Tesla. The 50-year-old Tesla driver stated that he was using autopilot when the crash happened.
The driver of the Tesla Model S suffered minor injuries. The bus passengers did not get injured. The caused damage is estimated to be about 55,000 Euro (~$61,000).
Tesla has not yet commented on the accident near Ratzeburg. Because the story has been going over the Reuters and AP wire, Tesla will have to make a statement.
Update: And here is the statement from Tesla regarding the Model S crash with a bus in Germany. The autopilot feature was not at fault of the accident. Tesla refers to the Model S driver stating that the bus side-swiped the Model S. This would mean the bus is at fault and autopilot had no chance in avoiding the accident.
The police in Ratzeburg says that an investigation why the autopilot did not work is necessary. If Audi or VW would have to issue a statement every time someone dies in their cars, they would be doing that every day.
Tesla started to roll out the new radar based autopilot 8.0 a week ago. It is not clear if the Model S involved in the crash was already running Autopilot 8.
The Autopilot 8 version is supposed to be much better than the previous version and should be capable of avoiding for instance the fatal accident earlier this year of a Tesla enthusiast.
The new Autopilot will use of more advanced signal processing to create a picture of the world using the onboard radar. The radar was added to all Tesla vehicles in October 2014 as part of the Autopilot hardware suite, but was only meant to be a supplementary sensor to the primary camera and image processing system.
Tesla believes it can use radar as a primary control sensor for Autopilot without requiring the camera to confirm visual image recognition. The new radar Autopilot unlocks access to six times as many radar objects with the same hardware with a lot more information per object. The software then is assembling those radar snapshots, which take place every tenth of a second, into a 3D "picture" of the world. To solve issues like correctly recognizing an overhead highway road sign positioned on a rise in the road or a bridge where the road dips underneath, Tesla uses the fleet learning system.
Tesla will also be able to bounce the radar signal under a vehicle in front, using the radar pulse signature and photon time of flight to distinguish the signal - and still brake even when trailing a car that is opaque to both vision and radar.