An accident that involved eight cars and injured nine people happened on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Tunnel, and back in November, the driver of the car that caused the pileup – a Tesla Model S – blamed everything on the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature.
Now, surveillance footage of the accident, obtained by The Intercept and embedded below, shows how it all happened. The Tesla Model S, which reportedly had Full Self-Driving active, signals a lane change, moves to the fast lane, and then suddenly stops, without having any car or obstacle in front of it.
Almost immediately, traffic backs up and collisions begin, and in the end, nine people – including a two-year-old child – needed medical attention. On top of that, traffic was blocked for over an hour, according to the report published on The Intercept, messing up people’s travel plans for Thanksgiving.
To make matters worse, just hours before the accident happened, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced on Twitter that the EV maker’s Full Self-Driving Beta feature is available to anyone in North America that paid the $15,000 fee for the option.
The American car manufacturer states on its website that FSD’s “currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.” At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it’s launching an investigation into the incident that puts another question mark next to Tesla’s ability to deliver reliable driving assistants.
According to the NHTSA, Tesla vehicles were involved in almost 70 percent of the 392 crashes involving advanced driver-assistance systems reported from July 2021 to June 2022.
In another investigation, the federal agency asked Elon Musk for more details after he tweeted that an update is coming in January 2023 that will allow users to turn off hands-on-wheel alerts for its FSD software after users of the feature told him they were annoyed with the high number of disengagements.