China Tesla autopilot prang

Tesla says one of its flash motors was in autopilot mode when it crashed into a parked car in Beijing last week.

When activated, the beta-grade software takes care of the vehicle's steering and speed as a super-cruise-control function. You're supposed to keep your hands on the wheel, though, which apparently the driver in the aforementioned prang did not do.

"The driver of the Tesla, whose hands were not detected on the steering wheel, did not steer to avoid the parked car and instead scraped against its side," a Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters.

"As clearly communicated to the driver in the vehicle, autosteer is an assist feature that requires the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel at all times, to always maintain control and responsibility for the vehicle, and to be prepared to take over at any time."

The driver, 33-year-old programmer Luo Zhen, claims Tesla's sales staff told him the autopilot was a fully automated self-driving system. "The impression they give everyone is that this is self-driving, this isn't assisted driving," he said.

This comes after Consumer Reports urged Tesla to stress to its customers the limited capabilities of its autopilot. ®

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