Tesla driver using Autopilot kills motorcyclist

Occurred: April 2024

A Tesla driver was arrested for 'vehicular homicide' after running over a motorcyclist in Washington State, USA, while using the his car's Autopilot driver assist feature. 

The unnamed 56-year-old man’s 2022 Tesla Model S collided with a motorcycle while driving in Snohomish County, Washington State. The motorcyclist, 28-year-old Jeffrey Nissen, was pronounced dead at the scene having been trapped under the car. 

According to the affidavit, the driver had been returning home from lunch and was using Autopilot while looking at his phone when he heard a loud noise and the car lurched forwards, before accelerating and colliding with Nissen’s motorcycle. Authorities said they have not yet independently verified whether Autopilot was in use at the time of the crash.

The incident prompted further concerns about the safety and marketing of Tesla's Autopilot system. Tesla says drivers should remain attentive whilst using Autopilot, but they regularly appear to put too much trust in the technology, perhaps persuaded by the car maker's perceived hyping of the feature.

System 🤖

Developer: Tesla
Country: USA
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Automate steering, acceleration, braking
Technology: Driver assistance system
Issue: Safety
Transparency: Governance; Marketing