Tesla Autopilot may not be perfect, and it can't fully drive itself, but it may avoid crashes like this.
Tesla owner Martin Grefte admits he wasn't paying enough attention when he recently drove his Tesla Model 3 into a tree. He had just received bad news about a sick family member, his thoughts wandered, and that was all it took to lead to the crash. Fortunately, Grefte is okay, but his Model 3 is not.
Looking back, he says he wishes he had engaged Autopilot. If he had, there's a really good chance the crash would have never happened. Cameras and radars are always paying attention, they're not impacted by emotion, and computers work much faster than humans. While there's no way to know for sure, it can be assumed that Autopilot, and more specifically, Tesla's standard active safety systems, wouldn't have let the Model 3 run into a tree so easily.
Tesla Autopilot has been under constant scrutiny for years. However, most of the negative attention came to light due to its name. Autopilot is not a full self-driving system. There have been handful of terrible accidents that occurred while a Tesla vehicle was on Autopilot. Of course, this makes for bad press. What we rarely hear about is all the lives such technologies save.
If we stray from the system's name and simply discuss it for what it actually is, Tesla Autopilot serves the same purpose as advanced driver assistance systems in other cars. Many cars today come standard with features like lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Most cars that don't come standard with these features have similar systems available.
The purpose of advanced driver assistance systems is to assist drivers and avoid crashes, or at least make crashes less severe. While Tesla's Autopilot system and eventual Full Self-Driving Capability have a more advanced hardware and software set than many cars on the market today – essentially so it can be updated and continually improved into the future – it functions much the same as the above feature set on most cars.
Below is more of the story, tweeted by Grefte after the accident:
As always, please share your experience with us in the comment section below. Do you think Autopilot would have saved this Model 3?