Fatal Tesla Model S Crash in China Blamed on Autopilot


Another fatal Tesla Model S crash has come to light that reportedly occurred earlier this year in China. 

The Chinese media is reporting a fatal crash that happened in January of 2016 that involved a Tesla Model S driving on a highway before crashing into a street sweeper truck on the side of the road. Behind the wheel was a 23-year-old man borrowing his father’s car, with the accident taking place on a highway in the Hong Kong and Macau jurisdiction. The accident killed the driver and dashcam footage shows that the brakes were not applied before the electric sedan collided with the truck.

SEE ALSO: Autopilot Not to Blame in Fatal Accident Involving Model S, Tesla Says

The family of the driver is reportedly suing Tesla in Beijing Chaoyang District People’s Court, citing that Autopilot failed to prevent the accident. The lawsuit alleges that Autopilot was activated at the time of the accident, but Tesla is unable to confirm saying that the damage caused by the collision made the car physically incapable of “transmitting log data to our servers and we therefore have no way of knowing whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.”

The company added that it has “tried repeatedly to work” with the customer to investigate the cause of the crash, but the owner has not provided any additional information to assist Tesla in the investigation.

Discuss this story on our Tesla Forum

  • M. Brian Palmer

    What a bad idea all around, by the people who would trust such technologies and those who would release it in the first place.

    Technology is increasingly becoming a dangerous crutch for poorly informed people who won’t take responsibility for their actions.

    I am astonished most people think this technology should be put ahead of improving human behaviour.


  • Morality_Mortality

    1.25 Million auto related fatalities last year and you think that number would drop to zero if you could wave a magic wand & improve human behavior ? Seat belts are a ‘technology’ that is proven to save lives right ? However, how many people are trapped by seat belts and die as a direct result (hint: more than two annually ) = astonishing indeed. Do you blame the seat belt manufacturers or the auto manufacturers or how about all the Governments that have instituted them ?

    Take note: 150 people (approx.) will die from falling coconuts in 2016 which is 148 more than Tesla’s purported autopilot fatalities. Should we ban coconuts ? How about seat belts ?

  • M. Brian Palmer

    Yes, but there is a tipping point here and finally an issue about whether or not most drivers really are prepared to drive and should get or keep licences after showing themselves unfit in the first place. Our unwillingness to do more to change human behaviour is at the root of all our global troubles. I am taking about the evolution of consciousness here, and a 2300 year old Western ideology which rests on many false premises about the nature of the self, etc. The sense of entitlement behind this is troubling and it does much to undermine more socially sustainable forms of human powered and mass transit. Your argument is mostly a straw man, nice try, you are not really responding to my concern but lumping part of the evidence supporting my deeper concerns which support my overall argument against me, which is inconsistent. It’s pure hyperbole and not germane. What guarantee do you have that auto-pilot will reduce this number as most of these problems are already cause by technology, i.e. the expectation that everyone should have a car in a world rushing about trying to live some ideal but impossible life! I don’t think quoting statistics makes an argument. What are your tacit premises? It is probably those I am questioning; this focus on hyper individualism over the collective is part of the problem.

    We are unwise is our use of most technologies. We are slaves of greed and excess. Fear is the puppet master.

    “The goal of every institution striving to help people should always be to obviate the need for its own existence” eM, the unknown philosopher