We are trying to reach out to the owner of the original videos to get an answer.
Despite its controversial name, Tesla Autopilot has already proven to improve safety on dozens of occasions. Anyway, the video above poses a crucial question: was it involved with saving the Model 3 that recorded it? Or was it something a careful and watchful driver was able to pull off? Either way, it prevented what could be one of the nastiest rear-end crashes to ever happen with a Tesla.
Branden Flasch created the video based on the original videos recorded by Victor Arndt Mueller. Flasch inserted links to these videos in his video’s description. We are trying to contact Mueller to understand precisely what happened, and where. If you check the original videos, you’ll see they were recorded on July 2, at 4:22 PM.
UPDATE: We got more information about the accident and managed to contact Mueller. Read about that below.
After checking the original front video, we would bet that this was not an Autopilot job. The car accelerates in a way that we have never seen the beta driving assistant do in any case so far. It seems to be the sort of reaction only a watchful and skilled driver could have had.
The Dodge RAM immediately in front of the Tesla suffers the most damage. The crash has wholly destroyed the rear-end of the pickup truck, which also hits another vehicle. The semi-truck drifts to the left after the collision. We have no idea if any other vehicles were affected, and we hope everyone walked out safe of this horrific accident.
We have the impression the semi-truck driver could not stop because of brake issues. Another option is that he was either distracted or with a medical problem that prevented him from stomping the brake pedal.
If you have any sort of information that could help us understand the situation, please tell us more about that in the comments below. We will update this article as soon as we manage to talk to Mueller.
Thanks to Kyle Conner, we now know this accident happened in Idaho and it affected two other vehicles apart from the Volvo semi-truck, which was driven by 33-year-old Edwin Rodriguez-Orozco. The cars involved are the Dodge RAM, driven by 57-year-old Ronald Davidson, and a Nissan pickup truck driven by Betty Wentworth, 49, which was hit by the Dodge.
Sadly, Davidson had to be transported by air ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, in Idaho Falls. Wentworth and her passenger, Deborah Reynolds, 47, were taken by ambulance to St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center, in Twin Falls. We hope all of them have a speedy recovery. The accident is still under investigation.
Mueller also got in touch with us. Here's what he said:
"I swerved just in time, not Autopilot – sadly, since I would love to have a car that could do it by itself. The only things you can credit to Tesla in this case are the cameras and the instant acceleration, which helped a lot."
Mueller does not know what caused the accident since he got to talk neither to the semi driver nor to the police. We promised to keep him posted.
Source: Branden Flasch