Motorcyclist Dead After Collision With ‘Self-Driving’ Tesla

A motorcyclist has been killed in the US after a collision with a Tesla car which, at the time of the collision, was using its Autopilot feature

Tesla Dash

A Tesla car which was using its ‘self-driving’ Autopilot function collided with a motorcycle, killing the rider.

The crash occurred in Maltby, Washington, on Highway 522 on 19 April 2024, and involved a Tesla Model S and a Yamaha motorcycle.

The Tesla was driven by an unnamed 56-year-old man from Snohomish, Washington, who was driving behind the motorcycle and engaged his car’s self-driving Autopilot function while he looked at his phone. 

The driver phoned the police after the crash. Police said that the car was on top of the rider, identified as 28-year-old Jeffrey Nissen, who died at the scene.

Washington-based publication Herald Net reports that the car driver was not impaired by drugs or alcohol when the collision happened, but that he was arrested for an “investigation of vehicular homicide while driving distracted.” The man posted a $100,000 (£80,000) bail and was released from the Snohomish County jail on Sunday night (21 April).

The Washington Post reported last June that there had been 17 fatal collisions involving Tesla’s Autopilot function, which the American manufacturer says is “intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment”.

This incident is not the first occurrence of a motorcycle being hit from the rear by a Tesla in Autopilot mode. Previous occasions have been blamed on the system’s use of cameras instead of radar, for example. The small proportions of a motorcycle can make it seem to the car’s Autopilot system that the motorcycle is further away than it is in reality. Tesla began removing radar from its vehicles and replacing them with Tesla Vision cameras in 2021.

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