Tesla driver pleads guilty to hit-and-run incident after blaming Autopilot for the accident.

A Tesla driver in Australia pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after attempting to blame Autopilot for a hit and run with a pedestrian back in March 2022. The driver’s guilty plea came after police analysis and Tesla’s own telemetry revealed that Autopilot was not engaged at the time of the accident. On the morning of March 22, 2022, nurse Nicole Lagos was struck by a white Tesla Model 3 while stepping onto the road on Wattletree Road in Melbourne, Australia.

The vehicle was traveling at 58 kph (36 mph) when it hit the nurse. The driver, Sakshi Agrawal, initially claimed that it was dark and she had turned on Autopilot, and that the nurse had jumped in front of the car, making it too late for Autopilot to avoid the accident. However, telemetry from the Model 3 and police analysis revealed that the crash was caused by driver error.

Autopilot was not activated 30 seconds before the car hit Lagos. Tesla’s data also showed that the Model 3 detected a “vulnerable road user” and triggered alerts about a potential collision before the incident. Additionally, no brakes were applied after the crash, and the vehicle actually sped up to 78 kph (48 mph) after the incident.

According to police, Agrawal was trying to rationalize her conduct and explain the inexplicable. She was initially due to face a County Court trial, but on the eve of the trial, she changed her plea to guilty. Agrawal is expected to be sentenced on May 10, 2024.

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