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Tesla Crash Shows Autopilot Has Flaw Ford’s BlueCruise Is Designed To Avoid: Video

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When Ford revealed its BlueCruise system last week, the automaker was quick to point out that it’s similar to Tesla’s Autopilot system, yet is designed to function without the driver having to physically touch the steering wheel. The problem is many defeat Autopilot’s requirements by securing a weight to the wheel and proceed to take naps, read books, or simply fail to pay attention to what’s going on. The result, unfortunately, has been a number of accidents, including a deadly Tesla crash that happened this past weekend.

Two people were killed in the Tesla crash in a Model S that was traveling at high speed when it approached a curve, went off the roadway, and crashed into a tree. The car burst into flames, and the subsequent fire proved difficult to extinguish, as it took four hours, over 30,000 gallons of water, and a call to Tesla for advice on what to do.

Once the fire was finally out, firefighters discovered two bodies in the car – one in the passenger seat and one in the rear seat. “They are 100 percent certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive,” Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman told KHOU News. “And again, the height from the back seat to the front seat, that would be almost impossible, but again our investigators are trained. They handle collisions. Several of our folks are reconstructionists, but they feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

While Tesla can’t necessarily be faulted for drivers that don’t follow its instructions, this crash and others like it highlight a flaw in the Autopilot system – it can be defeated easily. Meanwhile, Ford’s BlueCruise, as we’re previously reported, uses a driver-facing camera in the instrument cluster that monitors eye gaze and head position to help ensure the driver’s eyes remain on the road.

Thus, BlueCruise presumably wouldn’t work if there wasn’t a driver behind the wheel, though the system won’t launch until later this year. It’s obviously possible that someone will find a way around this requirement, but for now, it looks like a superior option, at least in terms of safety.

Update: Since this article was written, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Autopilot was not engaged on the vehicle before it crashed, and Woodlands Township Fire Department fire chief Palmer Buck has publically denied Mark Herman’s account of the crash. Police are seeking search warrants to secure vehicle data, and both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash.

We’ll have more on BlueCruise and everything Ford’s competition is up to soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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37 Comments

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  1. Tesla Autopilot isn’t perfect but it is 100 times better than FORD Junk SuperCruise

    All Ford vehicles made after 2000 are JUNKS.
    Compararing JUNK FORDs to the best EV of the world is totally WRONG.

    • Sure, Musk Fanboy. I’d rather drive any Ford including an Ecosport than be caught dead in one of Elon’s death machines.

      • Also isn’t super cruise gms one? Also gotta love that great paint job and build quality on those tesla cars…. Lastly love the requirement of 30k+ gallons of water to put one out. That sounds safe…

      • Bob, funny thing is ICE propelled cars have been catching fire since their creation. 1 in a million is still 1, and considering there aren’t near as many EV on the road as ICE, of course the % #s of EV fires are higher. I can only assume your brain is as simple as your name. You are no different than the idiots that said carts and horses and steam engines would never be replaced and the ICE driven vehicle was the devil.. Just as the world will continue to progress, you’re stupidity like the others before you wont matter. Also I own a gas guzzling 91 gmt400 4wd and a 97 TJ wrangler. Not that I am better, but my head isn’t up my ass as yours seems to be.

  2. Tesla Autopilot isn’t perfect but it is 100 times better than FORD Junk SuperCruise

    All Ford vehicles made after 2000 are junks
    Compararing junk FORDs to the best EV of the world is totally WRONG.

  3. Your are correct that Tesla”S Autopilot is a real killer! You just can’t justify that killer app over any other since the others are not on the road yet, so the only junk is the obvious killer. I know Ford’s since I have been driving them for over 60 years

  4. Hoat T Nguyen get your facts right Super Cruise is GM version it has nothing to do with fords not yet released BlueCruise so no one nows how good it is fact!.
    I like the fact the ford system uses a driver faceing camera so it can warn the person if they are not concentrating enough from tiredness.
    As for if someone finds a way round it I hope that ford do it so if you try to defect the camera the car will not start when you get into the car to start it.
    If the car is moveing and someone tried to defeat the camera I not sure
    how you could make the car stop safely as this would have to be done but hopefully it can be done as this is a very important safety function of self driving car or just to stop people falling asleep at the wheel.

    Telsa self driving is seriously flawed becuase you can over ride the system so easily it is not safe at all!.Telsa should be held for account for this seriouse flaw!
    Telsa the best ev in the world on which planet is that?
    The Mustang Mach E is the best EV on this planet

  5. It appears that this crash has sent the Feds over the edge and intend to use it as the poster-child for autonomy, with heavy regs coming down the pike. Good. Finally. So, as far as autonomy goes, everything is now “on hold”. Ask Americans if they even want it and I’d bet 95% say “no”. Tech gone too far.

  6. I think high speed might be an exaggeration. Autopilot does not let you travel more than 5 mph over the speed limit normally. I also think, if you disengage your seatbelt, or don’t fasten it, autopilot won’t engage. If it was engaged they definitely were trying to bypass all the safety measures. I would understand if they lost control of the the car due to the extreme acceleration and speed. Lesson here, don’t do dumb things in cars.

  7. Every single system in the world has flaws. As soon as Ford launches the BlueCruise every single person that can get the hands on it will try something and at least one person will find a way.
    Tesla’s AP/FSD has a lot to improve. Weight sensor, different touching sensors, pedal sensor, ceiling sensor and so one, can improve the system. AI and machine learning are also key.

  8. Tesla’s Autopilot is honestly significantly better than Ford’s BlueCruise just based on data gathered from miles driven. Ford is going to EV so the copious amounts of water needed for putting an EV fire out isn’t going away. Hopefully Ford can make it very competitive with their software which will just make it a win-win for all of us.

  9. How does based on data make telsa Auto pilot better?.The simply truth is at the moment telsa Auto pilot can over ridden so simple that is a major problem.As for how much water is to put out a mustang mach E on fire we do not know as yet.

  10. Was the car in Autopilot????? Tesla has stated the car was not in Autopilot via the data logs. Autopilot will not engage without lane markings. Who has confirmed with Tesla that the car was in Autopilot???? Can we get the facts please.

    • “They are 100 percent certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive,”

      I can’t make you read the article but it would likely help your situation.

      • Reading this article wont help you for actual facts. Wont even help this dumb officer with facts. His statements have already been proven false.

  11. People dont here dont actually read facts they just blindly follow a company without any knowledge. It’s already been stated the car was not in autopilot and it only took 3 mins to put out the fire not 4 hours. This outlet and every other media out there that’s reported on this should be ashamed at their lack of research on topic at hand

    Not to mention it’s also been proven by real data and facts Teslas are safer than just about every car out there. Go read then come back and @ me. Do your own research on how many fords and Dodgers and GMs and such are involved in accidents every month compared to tesla. Have fun

    • Sorry Jeremy, your trying to compare apples and oranges. Their’s millions more Fords, Chevy’s, Dodge’s, Honda’s, etc., etc. on the road than all the Tesla’s ever dreamed of selling!
      Its very obvious that Tesla’s are much more dangerous than any other car on the road.
      Don’t be a blinded by this data. Its comparing apples & oranges! Seriously,

      • Sure. Theres more of their cars on the road, and if you’d actually go lookup the statistics theres still a bigger percentage of fatal crashes per 1k cars made for ford and dodge and chevy. Instead of just assuming maybe you should do some research.

        Btw this is coming from a long time ford fan boy. Dad retired from there and only ever bought fords until recently. Keep up with the times

  12. This auto-pilot, self-driving car nonsense shouldn’t even be a topic for discussion/debate. Period. It’s another really dumb idea just like electric vehicles. The dang things are worse than hazardous to y’all’s health and there ain’t nothin’ ‘green’ about ’em.

  13. Hey people, let’s not overlook that this was simply a test run for 420 celebration! Just got a little carried away having to climb into the back seat to find the roach that blew back there! Party on!!!

  14. So when a plane crashes and investigators say they know the cause with 100% certainty does that mean the black box data record isn’t necessary or it’s wrong? If Musk is correct that autopilot wasn’t enabled then it sounds like the investigators may just have it wrong? Did anyone witness the accident? Is it possible they were still alive on impact and attempted to get out the passenger side? I don’t have these answers but unless they were there or have video or witness then it’s all speculation. I drive Ford’s but have nothing against Tesla. The key is non attentive FSD but gotta start somewhere.

  15. Tesla’s focus is outward to eventually eliminate the driver. 18 cameras are better than our 2 cameras on a gimble.
    All other systems focus ont the driver and are not forward thinking enough. Tesla can them the interior camera on at any time if needed.

  16. Your article is not only ignorant, it is irresponsible and libalous. You write your article as though it is factual, all the while falsely presuming the Tesla autopilot was engaged. You are a part of the fake news problem our country faces now!

  17. Firefighters said it took a matter of a couple minutes to put out the fire, no one had to contact Tesla for instructions…driver caused his own demise doing stupid things and misuse of product. Just fake news paid for by Ford.

  18. Another FUD article. Get your facts straight before regurgitating bs. Tesla data shows Autopilot was not engaged and the car didn’t have a FSD subscription. Just consider the other explainations as though this was any other car. Could there have been a third person? Yes. Could the driver have tried to get out the back or the passenger side? Yes. Could the witness by lying? Yes. They only reason these questions are not being asked is because it’s a Tesla.

  19. Autopilot wasn’t engaged on the car that crashed and it had no full self driving feature. This is an ill informed hit piece.

  20. Not to mention took 3mins to put fire out not 4 hours. Not to mention theres been a total of 62 fatal crashes with Tesla in last 3 years where theres been over 20,000 for ford and Chevy EACH. Tesla is somewhere like 42nd in fatal crashes in world. My god the FUD has brainwashed people

  21. Your facts about the crash are wrong , firefighters said it took 3 minutes to put the fire out. It won’t go that speed in FSD and without lanes the driver assist won’t work. These guys that naiputlate any vehicle like this should be charged just like a DUI.

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