The driver attempted to brake at the last second, but it was too late.
These videos capture the moment when a Tesla Model 3, presumably on Autopilot, slams into an overturned, stopped lorry on the motorway. Autopilot reportedly didn't see the big, overturned, stationary object. Automatic emergency braking failed to respond in this scenario too. Fortunately, nobody was injured.
Taiwan English News reports the following:
According to preliminary investigations by the Highway Police Bureau, the 53-year-old Tesla driver, Mr Huang, said that his car was on autopilot, and travelling at around 110 kilometres per hour at the time of the crash.
As soon as he saw the truck, he stepped on the brake, Mr Huang said. However, it was too late to stop the vehicle, and it crashed through the roof of the overturned truck.
This isn't the first time a Tesla failed to stop itself when a stationary vehicle was directly in front of it and it seems the Autopilot system has some issues in detecting stationary objects. Clearly, the car should've stopped itself here and you'd think this scenario would be among the easiest for a system such as Autopilot or automatic emergency braking to detect and respond to, but that's definitely not the case.
Below we've featured multiple videos from various angles to show the scene of the accident. You'll see that several other vehicles safely navigate around the overturned truck. However, the Model 3 does not and in the last second or two before impact, there's quite a bit of smoke, indicating that the driver locked the brakes in an attempt to stop. Also of note is that it doesn't appear as though any of the Tesla's airbags deployed in the incident.
It's possible that the driver of the Tesla didn't even apply the brakes, but rather that the vehicle hit some debris in the road left behind from the truck crash. This might be why we only see smoke from one side of the Tesla and not both. However, there is some brake light illumination that's hard to make out in one of the videos, so presumably, that was by pedal application from the driver.