Autopilot Prevents Tesla Model S Collision – Video

6 months ago by Eric Loveday 36

Autopilot is often blamed (usually, wrongly) for crashes involving a Tesla, but seldom do we see Autopilot being praised for preventing a collision. On the occasion of Tesla recently announcing a big upgrade to its system (with OTA version 8.0 – details here), saying it is now even up to 3x better, we figured we would pass along a positive story.

Autopilot Prevents Crash

Autopilot Prevents Crash

Such is the case in this video where we can see Autopilot step in to indicate a side collision is soon to occur.

Video description:

Driving with moderate traffic, the car on the left lane didn’t notice me on his blind spot when he shifted right.

I’m still in shock about this, so I can’t remember if I steered right, or Model S helped me steer the wheel.

I only remember there is a chime warning sound and I immediately take the control and try to avoid the collision.

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36 responses to "Autopilot Prevents Tesla Model S Collision – Video"

  1. Nelson says:

    Defensive driving dictates never stay in someone’s blind spot. If you find yourself on someone’s right blind spot slow down let them pass you. If on the left, either pass quickly or slow down and move one lane to the right and follow at safe distance.

    1. Kdawg says:

      That’s what I was going to say.

      “Driving with moderate traffic, the car on the left lane didn’t notice me on his blind spot when he shifted right. I’m still in shock about this”

      Should not be surprising that someone can’t see you in their “blind spot”.

      The other possibility is they were texting/whatever and were simply drifting out of their lane. I see this a lot.

      1. Jesse Gurr says:

        I agree with the “drifting out of lane” hypothesis. As you can notice in the video, the car doesn’t even end up changing lanes. Obviously the driver was distracted then noticed what was happening and corrected then drove away. This kind of thing happens a lot.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      +1 Having no protocol for blind spots is an Autopilot shortcoming. Maybe AP 8.0 will address it.

    3. Greg says:

      From the short clip it looked the driver was passing on the right, the Tesla wasn’t just hanging around in the drivers blindspot. The number One lane is a carpool lane and the driver in the #2 lane wasn’t going fast enough for the speed of the traffic. So the Tesla decided to pass on the right. The driver in the #2 lane decided to move over to the right without signaling and checking their blind-sports which almost caused a accident.

    4. Waiting says:

      I hear all the talk about autopilot but I don’t hear anything about the potential cost of repairing such an advanced system. Good Lord, what’s it going to cost to repair or replace a camera or the radar? This ups the ante quite a bit.

  2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    There’s no question that use of Tesla’s Autopilot has prevented accidents. The only question is just how many, and how serious they would have been if Autopilot hadn’t been used.

    It’s easy to count lives lost in auto accidents. It’s far, far harder to count, or even reasonably estimate, lives saved from accidents avoided.

    But one thing is certain: As Tesla’s Autopilot systems continue to be improved, and as Tesla continues to sell more cars, the number of lives saved will keep increasing over time.

    1. przemo_li says:

      It is actually not that hard.

      Over large sample statistics can predict with greater accuracy.

      So Tesla says that Autopilot gives 50% more accident free miles between each one (on average)?

      They can prove it.

      Tesla says that there will be 3x less accidents? Maybe they could test it in diverse enough test scenarios to be sure that most often issues are solved with new hw.

      Again, as probability over millions of miles.

      For some particular individual it may be more dangerous, but for society it’s big boom. As there is less material damage, less human injuries (and maybe less deaths – but we have no data over severity of accidents). Add to that productivity lost for repair and rehabilitation, and autonomous driving starts to show its true benefits.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        przemo_li said:

        “It is actually not that hard.

        “Over large sample statistics can predict with greater accuracy.”

        This is a case where getting accurate statistics will be impossible. When conducting a laboratory test, scientists try to minimize the number of variables as much as possible. Driving in real-world conditions, and traffic accidents, have so many variables that accurately counting what would be a fatal accident, and what wouldn’t, would be impossible.

        The best you could do would be to compare the rate of reported accidents (note, not the total number, as some go unreported) of Tesla cars to other cars of similar age, performance capability, and price range. Well… as similar as you can get. Let’s face it, there aren’t any other cars out there with anything close to both the price and performance of a Model S or Model X.

    2. Four Electrics says:

      Actually, it’s pretty easy to count lives saved and accidents avoided; simply compare the population of Teslas without Autopilot to those which do have Autopilot.

      For fatalities, the numbers are all public, and Autopilot comes out the loser. For non-fatal crashes, only Tesla has the numbers.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Four Electrics continued his FUD campaign:

        “For fatalities, the numbers are all public, and Autopilot comes out the loser.”

        Repeating this fraudulent FUD won’t make it true, no matter how many times you repeat it. If you actually think it’s true, then let’s see some citations.

  3. Joe says:

    In my book, Autopilot did not prevent this accident, it almost caused it.
    The Tesla was clearly at fault:
    You must not pass somebody on their right hand side (or left when in Brit-legacy countries). And that is exactly what the Tesla was doing (or trying to). The reason, as others have pointed out: the blind spot of the car in the left lane.
    Given that this vehicle was Autopilot-operated, this is an issue with the software which would actually violate the law in at least a number of European countries where overtaking in the right lane is banned, unless in very slow or inner-city traffic.

    Tesla, please fix this!

    1. Trey M says:

      Joe, it is not against the law in my state and most US states I would assume. In fact, the majority of the problem is people in the US who believe they should stay in the left lane even when they are not passing. Just this morning on the way to work, on a highway with a 65MPH limit, I was in the middle lane and passed a person in the left lane that was going an estimated 55MPH. The problem is not cars or autopilot, but people with no understanding of the rules of the road.

      1. Stimpacker says:

        There are idiots all over the world who like to drive slow in the fast lane.

        However, only in America do these idiots purposely choose to ignore a flash of the high beam or a gentle toot of the horn from people behind them wanting to pass. More surprisingly, some actually get offended by such gestures.

        So the faster driver is left with one recourse – that is to pass from the slow lane.

        Now if I am in a good mood, I will then get in front of said idiotic driver and go just 2mph slower than him/her. It is amazing to watch such drivers go into a fit of rage when it is OK for them to slow me down but it is NOT OK for me to slow them down.

        1. Trey M says:

          AMEN!!
          Most don’t know what ‘Flash to pass’ even is. I agree, most US drivers are not being taught how to drive anymore.
          The trend here lately that has been getting on my nerves is people driving around with high beams on all the time. When you flash them, they flash back, then turn high beams right back on.

        2. Timmy says:

          Way to go, rolling revenge… just to annoy them and gauge their reaction! Stay classy and skip this step next time.

    2. Nix says:

      Joe, you are completely wrong about American law. This is entirely legal.

      1. Joe says:

        Then clearly you should get your lawmakers to change your laws. They’re letting you down in preventing safe journey.

        It is not safe to overtake on the left and it shouldn’t be legal. I like European lawmakers much better.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Joe said:

      “You must not pass somebody on their right hand side (or left when in Brit-legacy countries).”

      I’m guessing you don’t drive in the USA? That law only applies to two-lane roads, not to freeways or multi-lane roads and highways.

      Maintaining your speed in a given lane on a multi-lane highway, as seen in this video, is never illegal nor is it considered unsafe driving, at least not in the USA. And I find it hard to believe it’s the law in other countries. If I’m driving on the Autobahn, and I’m driving faster than the guy in the left-most, unlimited speed lane, would I be prohibited from passing him in another lane, even if he refuses to move over to a slower lane? Ridiculous.

      It is absolutely the responsibility of someone changing lanes to check to see if the other lane is clear before doing so. If an accident occurred in the instance shown in the video, it wouldn’t have been the Tesla driver who was found to be at fault.

      1. Joe says:

        Indeed, I don’t drive in the USA.

        As for the Autobahn, I can assure you that it is illegal to pass a car in the left lane on its right hand side lane. Depending on your speed and the situation you may even loose your license for that, e.g. if you endanger anyone by doing so…

        So, a car in the left lane slowing down does imply that you in the middle or right lane also slow down, since you are not allowed to pass that car on its right side. Yes. And it makes sense in terms of safety. Not necessarily in terms flow and environmental protection. Note that this applies only on roads with speeds exceeding 80km/h though. And note that it is also illegal to stay in the left (i.e. fast) lane continuously unless you’re actually overtaking. So the situation in which you’re not able to pass a slow person in the left lane is relatively rare based on this.

  4. Rick says:

    It’s obviously always the fault of the Tesla driver and his car.

  5. sven says:

    The driver should have tooted his horn before the Autopilot took evasive action, swerving into the adjacent lane on the right. Perhaps in the future, Tesla will program Autopilot to also sound the horn in the appropriate situation.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Seriously, sven? You need to turn down the gain knob on your TES* reality distortion goggles.

      I count about 1.5 seconds between when the other car starts moving toward the Model S’s lane, and when Autopilot takes action to prevent an accident. Any human driver, given that small an amount of time to react to prevent an accident, would be insane to waste time reaching for the horn button instead of using that time to brake and steer right.

      When an accident is imminent, a sane driver reacts to prevent the accident first, and only after that hits to horn to let the other driver know he just nearly caused an accident.

      sven, this isn’t the first time that you’ve posted something suggesting you have no experience at all with driving. Seriously, have you ever had a driver’s license?

      *Tesla Envy Syndrome

  6. ffbj says:

    This is why we need the next advancement when vehicles on the road announce their presence and intentions to eachother.
    Clearly, in this case most drivers would not have crept up on the car in the left lane as autopilot did.
    That’s not illegal, in the U.S. on the highway, but more of a rules of the road kind of thing. Don’t pass on the right.

    Though if there had been an accident the left lane car intruded into the right hand lane, so that driver was at fault.

    1. sven says:

      Tesla Model X: Hi, Audi Q5. Nice to meet you. Don’t even think of parking next to me. If you do, I’ll smash you with my doors.

      Audi Q5: Ich spreche kein Englisch. Sprechen Sie deutsch?

      Tesla Model X: Hey diesel breath, don’t play dumb with me. I know you understand English. So scram if you know what’s good for you.

      Audi Q5: Auf Wiedersehen!

      😀

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      ffbj said:

      “That’s not illegal, in the U.S. on the highway, but more of a rules of the road kind of thing. Don’t pass on the right.”

      I’m guessing you, also, don’t drive on highways in the USA?

      Seriously, when you’re driving on a multi-lane freeway, do you not maintain speed in the lane you’re in, regardless of the speed of the cars in the other lanes?

      What you’re suggesting is that anyone wishing to pass a car in a lane to their left should move over two lanes before passing. Is it really necessary to point out that nobody, and I do mean nobody, ever drives that way on American freeways?

      Well, that’s not completely accurate. I have occasionally seen people who were driving that way; people who were recklessly driving far faster than the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic.

  7. Foo says:

    Why doesn’t the Tesla auto-honk?

    1. Nix says:

      how about auto-finger?

  8. Terawatt says:

    You say Autopilot is often wrongly blamed for causing an accident, yet you’re happy to write as if it’s clear it prevented one here – while the uploader states he doesn’t even know himself if he or the car did the steering away.

    And no, the chime sounding doesn’t make this accurate reporting. It’s not an autopilot if all it does is sound alerts.

  9. VazzedUp says:

    How about the two cars on the right? If autopilot swerved to avoid, it came mighty close between the two cars to its right.
    Think what we have here is a proximity alert and then a knee jerk reaction from a suddenly active driver that was unaware of the vehicles around them that could have caused a crash to the right.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I’ve seen other videos where Autopilot/AutoSteer did exactly the same to avoid an accident; moved over within the same lane to avoid another vehicle suddenly entering the Tesla’s lane.

      A human driver would be more likely to swerve violently, possibly well into another lane, to avoid an imminent accident. Tesla AutoSteer won’t do that, at least not in its current iteration.

      Of course that’s still not proof that it was AutoSteer which prevented the accident, and not the human driver, but the movement pattern does look to me like Autopilot/ AutoSteer did it.

  10. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I avoid idiots like those all day long without autopilot.

    The first rule is to NOT stay in the blind spot of other cars.

    The second rule is to pass other cars as quickly as possible.

    Swerve to the other lanes to avoid this sometimes can cause other accidents.

    An auto honk by the Tesla might have been more effective in this case.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “The second rule is to pass other cars as quickly as possible.”

      Even on a multi-lane freeway? Seriously?

      It baffles me that no less than three people, now, have claimed that you aren’t supposed to maintain speed in your lane on a multi-lane divided highway as far as possible, as 99.9% of drivers do. A casual reader of this discussion would think that nobody posting here (except me) had any experience driving on American freeways!

  11. DL says:

    This video is clearly faked, and I have definitive proof:

    You can see 3 Prius in the left lane MOVING FASTER THAN OTHER TRAFFIC! That never happens in reality, so this is clearly edited or faked.

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