A Tesla Model X SUV was involved in a serious crash over the weekend with its driver pinning the blame on the vehicle’s autopilot system.
The accident happened Saturday in Whitehall, Montana. According to a friend of the driver via the Tesla Motors Club forum, the vehicle was in autopilot mode at speeds of between 55 and 60 mph when the SUV veered off the road and hit a wooden guard rail.
As you can see from the images, the impact destroyed the entire right side of the vehicle and even sheared off the front passenger-side wheel. As Electrek notes, version 7.1 and later of the autopilot software limits the speed at which it can be used to the maximum posted speed limit plus an additional five miles per hour.
Fortunately, the two occupants didn’t suffer any major injuries.
As of writing, neither Tesla nor CEO Elon Musk had publicly commented on the matter.
Late last month, it was revealed that a Tesla Model S driver in Florida had been killed after his autopilot feature failed to detect a tractor trailer as it crossed an intersection. Earlier this month, a Model X was involved in a non-fatal accident 100 miles east of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
In the latter crash, the vehicle apparently collided with a concrete median which sent it across the road before rolling and coming to a stop on its roof. The driver, Albert Scaglione, said autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.
It’s worth pointing out that Tesla’s autopilot feature is still in beta status and requires that drivers remain alert and aware of their surroundings and keep their hands on the wheel while it’s engaged.