Tesla’s Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that performs very well in most situations, and when I say most situations I mean the ones that drivers in the US or Europe face. Highly congested cities, like those located in southeast Asia, are a whole other ball game. Out of the over 3 billion miles Autopilot has driven, I highly doubt many of those were in countries like Vietnam. The Autopilot system wasn’t prepared for it “saw” in the video.
The short video takes place in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam’s largest city. You see a Tesla Model X using Autopilot slowly creeping through traffic that’s mostly made up of many scooters, but also passenger vehicles and busses. It’s interesting to watch Autopilot “see” all the scooters and display them on the driver’s screen. I’ve never seen so many scooters displayed before.
The system seems to be doing a good job sensing the scooters but sometimes, if you look closely at the driver’s screen, they drive through neighboring vehicles or jump around the screen very quickly. At the end of the video, Autopilot gives up and asks the driver to take over. It’s hard to blame the system for doing this, it’s not ready for the amount of scooters zooming all around the Model X at different speeds. If this Tesla had FSD Beta, it probably wouldn’t have done much better.
Besides showing Autopilot being overwhelmed with scooters, this video shows how difficult it will be for automakers and driverless companies to develop an autonomous vehicle that can travel anywhere around the world. The technology isn’t there yet, but soon there will be an advanced driver assistance system that will sense and handle loads of scooters, or anything else on the road.