New questions are being raised about the safety of Tesla’s Autopilot system after a third fatal crash with a motorcycle this summer.
The latest incident occurred on August 26 in Palm Beach County, Florida when Ingrid Eva Noon was hit while riding her motorcycle at 2:11 a.m. Police discovered that the Tesla driver was using Autopilot at the time when the car rear-ended Noon, throwing her onto the car’s windshield and killing her.
Crash data released by Tesla last week confirmed that Autopilot was indeed engaged at the time of the crash.
Read: German Regulators Still Not Happy With Tesla’s Autopilot Fix After Finding ‘Abnormalities’
This accident came just a month after Landon Embry was killed while riding his Harley-Davidson after being rear-ended by a Tesla driver also using Autopilot. Two weeks before that, a Tesla on Autopilot hit a motorcycle on a road in Riverside, California after the rider had already fallen off from impacting a dividing wall. The Tesla did not hit the rider in this case.
Speaking with CNN Business, motorcycle safety advocates have raised concerns about the system’s inability to detect motorcycles and claim that it lulls drivers into a sense of complacency and inattentiveness.
“Motorcyclists have long been told by crash-causing inattentive drivers, ‘Sorry, I didn’t see you.’ Now we are hearing, ‘Sorry, my car didn’t see you.’ This is unacceptable,” president and chief executive of the American Motorcyclist Association Rob Dingman said.
For many years, the American Motorcyclist Assocation has urged the National Highway Traffic safety Administration to test for motorcycle detection while assessing the safety of new vehicles and their driver-assistant technologies. Safety programs in Europe test for just this but the NHTSA does not.
“If it can’t see a motorcycle, can it see a pedestrian? Can it see a small child? Can it see an animal?” Eric Stine, treasure of the Utah chapter of ABATE, which advocates for motorcycle riders, added.
In a letter addressed to the NHTSA last year, the American Motorcyclist Association said that the “consequences will prove disastrous for motorcyclists if the issue of detection is not address early in the development of automated vehicles.”
Lead Image: Utah Department of Safety