6 Times Self-Driving Cars Forgot How to Drive

6 Times Self-Driving Cars Forgot How to Drive

Self-driving cars are a piece of tech that no one has gotten quite right yet. Companies like Cruise, Volvo, and of course Tesla, have been trying to crack self-driving cars for what feels like years. I’m sure there’s a universe out there where we’re all jetting around in our own self-driving cars that drive perfectly, but in this universe, the kinks are still being worked out. While that process unfolds, stories of self-driving car accidents (some hilarious, others devastating) are being shared across the internet. Here’s 6 noteworthy ones.

Tesla Ground Jet

A Tesla X crashed into a Cirrus Vision SF50 jet when the driver summoned the car. First, the use of the word “summon” is comically ominous. Second, that flight is definitely cancelled. The clip was seemingly first shared on r/flying last month, before being picked up by news outlets across the country. “I was at a Cirrus event and someone tried to summon their Tesla past a $US3,500,000 ($4,858,700) Vision jet…. Ooph…” original poster smiteme said in the Reddit thread.

Volvo Auto-brake Mishap – Part I

So there’s not a ton of information to share on this one, but apparently during a 2010 Volvo press event to show off the 2011 Volvo s60, the widely publicized auto-braking feature failed. The test car, which was moving at a speed over 32 km/h, then slammed into the back of the demo truck parked in front of it with a loud crunch. “So, ladies and gentlemen, we have some kind of mishap in the testing here,” a disembodied voice announces to the crowd of journalists.

Cops Catch Captain-less Cab

Cruise, a GM company, is in the process of testing their driver-less robotaxis on the streets of San Francisco. The company got approval in October 2021 to test their new tech in the window from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Last month, one of Cruise’s self-driving taxis was pulled over for driving without its headlights. “Ain’t nobody in it,” a passerby shouted to the puzzled cop, before the car bolted away down the street with the cops in tow.

A Fatal Accident

Illustration: National Transportation Safety Board
Illustration: National Transportation Safety Board

In an incredibly unfortunate self-driving accident, a pedestrian pushing a bicycle across the road was struck and killed in 2018 by a self-driving Uber. The accident happened in Tempe, Arizona, and while the Uber (which was a Volvo) was self-driving at the time, there was someone in the driver’s seat acting as the car’s human backup driver. BBC News reported that the driver was watching an episode of The Voice on her phone when the accident happened, citing a police report.


On February 14, 2016, a self-driving car from Google side-swiped a city bus in Mountain View, California. Allegedly there was a driver testing the self-driving car, who, according to the New York Post thought the bus would let the car pass. The car was apparently navigating some sandbags in the road before it hit the bus. The car was travelling at 3 km/h, while the bus was moving at 24 km/h.

Volvo Auto-brake Mishap – Part II

This video of a Volvo self-braking demo has been widely shared on social media over the last few years and it’s definitely hard to watch. CNN reports that no one was badly injured. Volvo has said that these men are not company bosses, AFP Fact Check reports, citing the company. AFP Fact Check also stated that the dealership this mishap occurred at was in Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic.

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