Tesla Model S hits police SUV while in Autopilot mode

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Authorities say a Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode has crashed into a parked police cruiser in Laguna Beach, Southern California. The Tesla driver sustained minor injuries, but declined transport to a hospital, the sergeant told the Los Angeles Times.

The police SUV ended up with its two passenger-side wheels on a sidewalk.

Cota wrote that the vehicle had Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot feature activated when it crashed into a parked police department vehicle.

The collision happened at 11:07AM local time, Laguna Beach PD told the LA Times.

According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the vehicle claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone.

It is still unclear why the Tesla sedan veered and struck the police SUV which was totalled, Cota said. "We're just lucky that people aren't getting injured", Sgt. Cota said.

In April, Bloomberg reported that safety advocates were becoming increasingly sceptical of Tesla's claims that autopilot mode reduced crashes by 40 per cent, saying the company was misrepresenting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data that itself was not fully released to the public.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who issued a scathing attack on media credibility yesterday, has been vocal against those who criticize Tesla cars, despite growing concern about their safety.

This is not the first time a Tesla has crashed while in Autopilot mode.

Tesla said the feedback from its customers "shows that they have a very clear understanding of what Autopilot is, how to properly use it, and what features it consists of".

Tesla's report said on the March Autopilot crash: "The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver's hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision".

"What's actually wonderful about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60mph (96 kmh) and the driver only broke an ankle".