Autonomous Tesla explodes twice after accident
A man and his two children in Moscow were driving in their Tesla Model 3, using the vehicle's autonomous driving capabilities on the motorway. Unfortunately, the vehicle failed to recognise the parked tow truck on the left side of the motorway and crashed into it.
Thankfully nobody was critically injured and the driver is currently recovering from a broken leg.
Could it have been prevented?
The footage from a nearby traffic camera indicates that the lanes were of adequate width, meaning that the car could have passed the tow truck safely.
Despite the speed limit of the road being 62mph (100kmh), the truck had its hazards lights on. This means that the average human being would have recognised the obstruction ahead and gently moved a few inches to right to avoid possible contact, whilst remaining within the lane. The solution was quite simple but the car failed to recognise it.
How did it ignite and explode?
The cause was the lithium-ion battery, which was punctured and resulted in the formation of thick black smoke. Soon after, the the car caught fire and engulfed the Model 3 entirely.
Before any firefighters could even get to the scene, the vehicle exploded twice on the public highway, causing traffic to merge lanes and slow down to keep safe distance.
How did they extinguish it?
Conventional fire extinguishers are rendered obsolete when it comes to lithium-ion battery fires. Instead, thousands of gallons of water are used to contain the fire as best as possible.
Heavy-duty respiratory protection is worn to prevent the inhalation of toxic vapours, all whilst brave men and women disconnect the vehicle's high voltage components at a "first responder disconnect point" in the rear pillar. The vehicle is then usually observed under quarantine for between 24-48 hours to ensure it is no longer a threat.
Regardless of how brilliant an autonomous driving technology is claimed to be, always be alert at the wheel.
Should such a technology ever dominate our roads?
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