Tesla in Autopilot mode crashes into a parked police car in California

Tesla in Autopilot mode crashes into parked Laguna Beach police cruiser

A Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode struck a parked Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle Tuesday morning

Police in a Southern California coastal town said that a Tesla in autonomous mode hit a patrol vehicle parked on the side of a road on Tuesday.

The driver suffered minor injuries, Laguna Beach Sergeant Jim Cota said. The driver, he said, also pointed to the Autopilot system as being engaged.

A Tesla in autopilot mode crashed into a parked police vehicle in Laguna Beach, Calif. Tuesday, says AP.

The driver told police the auto was operating on autopilot at the time of the crash. The driver was traveling at 60 miles (97 km) per hour when the Model S smashed into a fire truck stopped at a red light, according to police.

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The latest crash involving a Tesla in Autopilot mode didn't turn tragic, as some past ones have, but certainly was embarrassing. The driver, Walter Huang, died after being taken to the hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board opened an investigation into a fatal accident in March in which a Tesla Model X had Autopilot engaged when it crashed into a concrete highway divider in California.

Despite Tesla's instructions to drivers before they start using Autopilot, the automaker's critics have called on the company to disable the feature until it can be made safer.

However, last week Tesla settled a lawsuit alleging the semi-autonomous autopilot feature was "essentially unusable and demonstrably risky".

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Whether an Autopilot feature was engaged when a Model S collided with the rear of a stopped fire truck in the U.S. state of Utah on May 11 remained to be confirmed.

Elon Musk's tetchy mood of late is unlikely to be lightened by the latest report of a Tesla crash.

Autopilot has been put under a microscope after other incidents involving the technology.

The driverless feature comes packaged as standard in all Tesla vehicles, which the automaker's website describes as having "the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver".

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