A company has staged a Tesla accident for what appears to be a PR stunt and several media outlets have bought into it – propagating some misinformation about Tesla’s autonomous driving capabilities.

A Russian company called Promobot, which is commercializing a humanoid robot for businesses, is bringing its robot to CES this year.

After a day of being in Las Vegas, the company claims that its robot has been damaged by a “self-driving Tesla Model S”:

“A self-driving Tesla Model S hit and destroyed an autonomous Promobot the robot model v4 in Las Vegas in a car accident. The incident took place at 3000 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas.”

They released a video of the alleged accident in Las Vegas:

The video doesn’t show how the robot got there, but the company claims that they were bringing their robots to their booth at CES when “one of them stepped out of line and into the parking lot roadway.”

Daily Mail claims to have talked with the person in the Tesla, George Caldera, who claims to only be a passenger and not a driver since the vehicle was “self-driving”:

“I switched this Tesla into a self-driving mode and it started to move. And wow! A robot on the track!”

Tesla doesn’t have a “self-driving mode”. Caldera could be referring to Tesla’s Autopilot, but it’s only a driver assist system, which is not an autonomous driving system and the driver is always responsible for the vehicle.

Furthermore, it’s meant to be used on the highway and other well-marked roads. While it can be activated in a variety of situations, it’s unlikely to work on a parking lot roadway.

Several media outlets have published the incident as described by the company.

Electrek’s Take

This is clearly fake.

Tesla doesn’t have enough bad press from bad reporting on real accidents, they actually have to get bad reporting on fake accidents too?

First of all, there’s no such thing as a “self-driving mode” in a Tesla right now unless maybe in development software in a few employee vehicles, which is clearly not the case here.

Secondly, look at that video. It conveniently starts with the crash and doesn’t show how the robot got there, which the video angle would have been able to capture.

On top of it, what the Tesla “passenger” said made no sense whatsoever.

Shame on them for spreading that nonsense and contributing to the misrepresentation of the Autopilot and its capabilities.


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