Does Tesla's Autopilot Hate Humans, or Just This Guy?
There’s no shortage of safety-minded autonomous technology on Tesla vehicles, but a video suggests some features could say “forget it” when asked to work.
YouTube user Kman recently posted a video showing real-world testing of the collision avoidance abilities of the Autopilot feature in a Tesla Model S 90D — tests that nearly got his friend splattered across the pavement.
In the video, first discovered by the EV website Electrek, the two friends test the vehicle’s low-speed Summon mode, as well as its Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Automatic Emergency Braking systems.
The Summon test shows the Model S’s sensors detecting a collision when a friend stands in front of the vehicle, and when he walks into its path. A frontal collision warning signal lights up in the vehicle’s gauge cluster and the Model S stops in time to prevent tears (and lawsuits).
Things get much hairier when the Model S has to avoid the same human while driving at the lowest possible speed for the Autopilot feature to work — 18 miles per hour. In these two tests, where the trusting friend jumps in front of the moving vehicle, the Tesla recognizes the roadway object but doesn’t do anything to avoid the collision.
In the first test, performed on a residential street, the system “failed to do anything but warn me, the driver, both audible and visually that I was going to collide with a (sic) object,” stated Kman. “The Collision avoidance system failed to stop the Tesla.”
The second test, on a more sparsely populated road, was worse:
The Collision Avoidance system while under autopilot waited even LONGER to alert me of a potential collision. I did have the distance setting at it’s (sic) maximum of 7, and gave the collision avoidance system as much opportunity to attempt to slow or stop the car yet again, yet again, the collision avoidance system came up shore (sic) on the Tesla S and only gave a (sic) Audible and Visual warning.
The video’s creator said he’s seen that particular vehicle’s system prevent collisions with other vehicles in the past, so he knows the feature works. Automatic emergency braking was added to Tesla vehicles last year.
There’s no shortage of media reports of Tesla vehicles avoiding accidents thanks to its collision avoidance features, just as there’s many unsubstantiated claims that a driver’s accident was the result of the system not working. It’s impossible to say why the vehicle in the video didn’t brake during the last two tests, even after detecting the impending collision, but it’s a good reminder not to leave all the big decisions to your car’s electronics.
Eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
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I also foresee a new movie for the Star Trek series. It's called "The Wrath of Elon" The year is 2035...Tesla autos has become the defacto automobile and mode of transportation for all plebeians on a planet called Euphemism. After successful progress of SpaceX, Elon Musk conquered his first planet and is in sole control of planet Euphemism. All criticism of his automobiles are met with swift death, whereby the owner is run over, trapped in their car and driven off cliffs or crashed into trees. It is up to the crew of Star Trek to return order to planet Euphism and stop the evil Elon from the genocide that is being wrought on planet Euphemism.