Trailer Talk

Driverless Tesla vs. Parked Trailer: Owner's Fault?

Was a "beta-test" version of the advanced electric car's control software to blame?

May 12, 2016

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Car was short enough to slip under the trailer and its load and suffer only a smashed windshield. Photos: from KSL-TV news report.
Car was short enough to slip under the trailer and its load and suffer only a smashed windshield. Photos: from KSL-TV news report.

When a guy buys a $120,000 Tesla Model S, he gets an advanced, all-electric powertrain, plus sophisticated electronic features that help navigate and guide the car down the road, and of course parallel-park it. He doesn't expect the car to move on its own and wedge itself under the front of a parked semitrailer.

But that’s exactly what happened, owner Jared Overton told KSL-TV News, Salt Lake City, which reported the story Wednesday (and was picked up by www.constructionequipment.com).

Amazingly, the driverless car was just the right height to slip under the trailer’s nose and overhanging load of aluminum tubing, suffering no more than a smashed windshield.The trailer appeared unscathed. It happened in Lindon, in the Orem-Provo area.  Watch the report here.

Trailer was the lead end of a parked B-train double. Tesla's driver said he was gone only a few minutes when this happened. 
Trailer was the lead end of a parked B-train double. Tesla's driver said he was gone only a few minutes when this happened.

So, was the car’s software a non-perfected “beta-test” version? You’d think that should have gotten Mr. Overton a purchase discount, not to mention a complimentary new windshield. Wait 'til Consumer Reports hears about this! 

Comments

  1. 1. ken moore [ May 27, 2016 @ 08:09AM ]

    That probably wouldn't have happened if the trailer had a DOT bumper like it should have...

  2. 2. Charles [ June 03, 2016 @ 04:55AM ]

    This the front of the trailer no DOT bumper is required.

  3. 3. Tom [ June 07, 2016 @ 09:32AM ]

    If you can't tell the front from the rearend of a trailer maybe you shouldn't be driving.

 

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Author Bio

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Tom Berg

Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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