Video shows Tesla Model S slamming into central reservation while driving on Autopilot
The video shows a Tesla Model S slamming into the central reservation while driving on Autopilot
Level 3 autonomous cars are already on roads all across the world and so it is inevitable that some are going to be involved in an accident at some stage.
The video above shows one such example of a semi-autonomous vehicle in a collision.
The Tesla Model S crashed on a Texas motorway and it was on autopilot at the time.
The autopilot failed to see a barrier and slammed right into a bright yellow wall.
On first look, it seems like a huge misstep for the self-driving system but the video showing the crash from the point of view of a driver following the Tesla reveals that the highway did not do the vehicle’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) system any favours.
The dramatic footage taken from a vehicle following closely behind the Tesla shows clearly that the road is under construction.
The Tesla car is equipped with the first-generation autopilot feature but it failed to recognize the extremely sharp angle of the construction barrier.
The road works are not clearly defined and in many ways very dangerous causing the Tesla to slam into the wall.
On first look, you could blame the autopilot for the error but it would seem that there was not much the autopilot could have done in this particular incident. The driver of the vehicle had this to say:
“I was driving in the left lane of a two lane highway. The car is AP1 (first generation Autopilot) and I’ve never had any problems until today. Autopilot was on and didn’t give me a warning. It misread the road and hit the barrier. After the airbags deployed there was a bunch of smoke and my car rolled to a grinding stop. Thankfully no one was hurt and I walked away with only bruises.”
At this point in vehicle automation, the autopilot is not meant to replace the driver and it is the driver's responsibility to keep in full control of the vehicle and take manual command in the event of any danger.
Tesla has always maintained that when driving their vehicles, you must keep your hands on the wheel at all times in case of an emergency.
The video shows that the autopilot was only doing what it was designed to do and so could not possibly have accounted for the dramatic angle of the detour.
The human-piloted vehicle behind Tesla also has to take immediate evasive action to avoid colliding with the bright yellow road works barrier.
Tesla eventually hopes to take all its vehicles to the point where they can not only guide their way down the motorways and roadways but also notice and avoid situations like the video above.
The technology is not yet that far advanced for full autonomy so it has to be conceded that the driver appears to be the one at fault and not the limited autopilot system.
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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