New Police report is contradicting Tesla's statement about the Model S collision with a bus on the German Autobahn.
The police station in the small German town of Ratzeburg has suddenly world-wide attention. Yesterday we reported that a Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode rear-ended a Danish bus on a German Autobahn in Northern Germany. The police report about the accident got picked up by AP and Reuters and was published around the world. Tesla had to respond and they did.
Tesla said in a statement that the bus side-swiped the Tesla Model S when swerved into the car's lane after overtaking a truck. Today the Ratzeburg police station issued a new report about the accident.
This time they did not use "Autopilot did not work" in the title for starters, but they doubled down on the assessment that the Tesla hit the bus. The report is now citing eye witness reports from passengers of the bus. The bus has been hit by the Model S when it was three quarters back in the right lane.
The report also says now that the exact cause for the accident are not known yet. The new report (available in German here) is leaving the door open that the bus was at fault as it was not entirely on the right lane when the accident occurred. The bus could have side-swiped the Model S during the lane change.
The PR damage to Tesla's autopilot has though already been done. The initial report that the Autopilot failed is all over the internet. The reports with Tesla's statement are not that widely spread. If the initial police report would not have had "Autopilot failed" in the title, the small town police report would not have been picked up by the wire news services.
The driver of the Tesla Model S suffered minor injuries. Nobody else was injured in the crash. The caused damage is estimated to be about 55,000 Euro (~$61,000).
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Tesla Autopilot feature has been under scrutiny since earlier this year when a Tesla fan died in an accident using the feature. The new Autopilot 8.0 has been revamped to use radar as the main means to navigate traffic automatically. Tesla requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel while driving in Autopilot mode and to stay alert. The Tesla software update 8 with the new Autopilot started to roll out a week ago.