Tesla has a smashing weekend: Model 3 on Autopilot whacks cop cars, Elon's Cybertruck demolishes part of LA

Dude was distracted by his dog when flash motor pranged police, officers say

A man driving a Tesla Model 3 on autopilot mode rammed into the back of two police cars and another vehicle parked on the side of a highway in Connecticut, USA, on Saturday. No one was injured in the crash.

Connecticut State Police (CSP) were called to an area of Interstate 95 in Norwalk early Saturday morning to attend to a car that had stopped on the left center lane of the four-lane freeway. Two troopers parked their police vehicles behind the car, deployed road flares, and called for a tow truck.

As they were waiting, a white Tesla Model 3 car cruising down the highway crashed into both police cars, which then smashed into the other car that had stopped in front. The Tesla driver then continued to roll along for another several hundred feet before one of the police cars flagged it down and stopped it.

The man told officers his car was on Autopilot – Tesla's super-cruise-control system – and the accident occurred when he was “checking on his dog” in the back seat, according to the CSP. Drivers are supposed to stay focused on the road and not take their hands off the wheel when using Autopilot; it is not an autonomous self-driving mode.

The bloke was ultimately given a misdemeanor for reckless driving and reckless endangerment.


Pro tip: Plug in your Tesla S when clocking off, lest you run out of juice mid hot pursuit


“Regardless of your vehicle's capabilities, when operating a vehicle your full attention is required at all times to ensure safe driving,” CSP said. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although a number of vehicles have some automated capabilities, there are no vehicles currently for sale that are fully automated or self-driving.”

Another Tesla bad boy driver got caught up in another minor accident, too. In Los Angeles, California, the company’s CEO Elon Musk hit a traffic bollard after he left the Japanese sushi restaurant Nobu in a Cybertruck, the silver, daft-looking, low-poly jalopy unveiled last month.

Musk was out celebrating with his kooky popstar girlfriend Grimes after he won his defamation case last week, and the excitement probably got to his head.

There is some debate as to whether the Cybertruck is even street legal at this point. The car lacks required wing mirrors, and also appears to be missing windscreen wipers.

On the latter point Tesla has filed a patent for bizarre windscreen wipers made out of lasers. Concentrated zaps of electromagnetic energy focused on a particular region on glass can clear specks of dust and debris, supposedly. The laser beam can change intensity, adjusting to how much dirt is on the glass.

The Register has asked Tesla for comment on both crashes but has yet to hear back. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022