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Car Tesla used to demonstrate Autopilot for commercial in 2016 smashed into a barrier during filming

A car that Tesla used to show off its then-new Autopilot 2.0 system in 2016 crashed while filming a commercial for the carmaker - an advert that can still be found on the company's site, but with the crash strategically missing.

The revelation comes as former Tesla employees recently told The New York Times that CEO Elon Musk may have contributed to the risks of his company's Autopilot system because of his desire to use only cameras and ditch sensors. 

The video, meant to demonstrate Tesla's Autopilot feature - which is now found on all its cars and allows the vehicles to perform basic driving functions such as steering, accelerating and braking autonomously - begins with a warning that 'the car is driving itself,' despite the fact that there is someone seated in the driver's seat throughout the commercial's entirety.

'The person in the driver's seat is only there for legal reasons,' a message flashes before the footage - filmed from the driver's perspective - begins.

The message goes on to assure viewers that the driver 'is not doing anything.' 

In the video, the driver sits with his hands off the wheel as the car embarks on a four-minute autonomous joyride in Palo Alto, around the EV company's headquarters. According to Tesla staffers who worked on the video, the car crashed during filming and had to be repaired

CEO Elon Musk may have contributed to the risks of his company's Autopilot system because of his desire to use only cameras and ditch sensors, former employees told The New York Times

Then, the footage begins. It's meant meant to show how autonomous the system - an update to an earlier version of Autopilot released in 2015 - could be.

In the video, the driver sits with his hands off the wheel as the car embarks on a four-minute autonomous joyride in Palo Alto, around the EV company's headquarters - despite the fact that the firm has insisted that drivers should keep their hands on the wheel at all times when using autopilot. 

The route had been charted ahead of time, members of the company's Autopilot team told The New York Times, by software that created a three-dimensional digital map - a feature previously unavailable to drivers using the former version of Autopilot.

The video, meant to demonstrate Tesla's Autopilot feature begins with a warning that 'the car is driving itself,' despite the fact that there is someone seated in the driver's seat

The commercial was designed to convey how autonomous Tesla's Autopilot system could be

At one point during filming, however, the car hit a roadside barrier on Tesla property and had to be repaired, three Tesla staffers who worked on the video revealed.

The final version of the ad omits this portion of the exhibition.         

At least 10 people have been killed in eight accidents in which Tesla's Autopilot was engaged since 2016, according to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency.

When Tesla's Autopilot technology began, it initially incorporated cameras, radar and sensors.

But Musk earlier this year tasked engineers with building a car that relied only on cameras for its autopilot feature, sources told The Times.

Musk earlier this year tasked engineers with building a car that relied only on cameras for its autopilot feature

HISTORY OF FIRST RESPONDER CRASHES CAUSED BY TESLA AUTOPILOT

January 22, 2018 in Culver City: A Tesla Model S hit the back of a fire truck parked at an accident in Culver City around 8:30 am on Interstate 405 using the cars Autopilot system. The Tesla, which was going 65mph, suffered 'significant damage' and the firetruck was taken out of service for body work.

May 30, 2018 in Laguna Beach: Authorities said a Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked police cruiser in Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jim Cota says the officer was not in the cruiser during the crash. He said the Tesla driver suffered minor injuries.

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

December 7, 2019 in Norwalk, CT: A 2018 Tesla Model 3 on Interstate 95 in Norwalk, Connecticut using the Autopilot driver assistance system rear-ended a parked police car. 

December 29, 2019 in Cloverdale, IN: A 2019 Tesla on Interstate 70 in Cloverdale, Indiana hit the back of a parked firetruck. 

The Tesla driver, Derrick Monet, and his wife, Jenna Monet, both suffered serious injuries and were transported to the hospital for immediate medical care. Jenna ultimately succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

June 30, 2020 in West Bridgewater, MA: A Weston, Massachusetts man driving a Tesla hit a Massachusetts State Police cruiser that was stopped in the left lane of Route 24 in West Bridgewater. A trooper who was on the scene reported that the driver, Nicholas Ciarlone, faced a negligent driving charge and was arraigned in September 2020.

July 15, 2020 in Conchise County, AZ: A Tesla Model S hit an Arizona Department of Public Safety patrol car, resulting in the patrol car rear-ending an ambulance that was on the scene of an earlier car accident. No one was seriously injured, but the Tesla driver was taken to the hospital for injuries.

August 26, 2020 in Charlotte, NC: A Tesla driver watching a movie crashed into a Nash County Sherriff's Office deputy vehicle in Charlotte, North Carolina on US 64 west.

The driver, Devainder Goli, of Raleigh, was accused of violating the move-over law and watching television while operating a vehicle. 

February 27, 2021 in Montgomery County, TX: The driver of a Tesla rear-ended a police cruise during a traffic stop in Montgomery County, Texas. Five deputy constables were injured during the accident, which happened around 1:15 am on Eastex Freeway near East River Road. 

The Tesla driver was not injured, but was taken into custody on a DWI charge. 

March 17, 2021 in Lansing, MI: A Tesla on autopilot crashed into a Michigan State Police car. Troopers from the Lansing Post had been investigating a crash involving a car and a deer on I-96 near Waverly Rd in Eaton County at around 1:12am.

While investigating the crash, a Tesla driving on autopilot struck the patrol car, which had its emergency lights on.

Neither the driver of the Tesla - a 22-year-old man from Lansing - nor the troopers were injured at the scene. Police issued the unidentified man a citation for failure to move over and driving while license suspended.  

May 15, 2021 in Arlington, WA: A Tesla driving in Arlington, Washington hit a police vehicle that resulted in 'significant damage' to the police car.

There were no injuries reported from the incident. 

May 19, 2021: Three people were hospitalized after a Tesla hit a parked Miami-Dade County Department Transportation Road Ranger truck that was blocking the left lane of I-95 to help clear the debris of an earlier crash.

The driver of the Tesla was transported to a nearby hospital with with severe, albeit non-life-threatening, injuries.