Tesla Model 3 Autopilot Saved This Owner: Tech Analysis Included


While active driver assistance features can’t be trusted, this doesn’t mean they don’t prevent accidents.

Tesla Autopilot and Autosteer are under constant scrutiny. This is because the systems are far from perfect and still being updated on a regular basis. Problems occur (sometimes catastrophic) and the media gravitates toward the concerns and issues rather than the positives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since we want drivers to make better choices with regards to the technology.

Yes, driver assistance systems shouldn’t be relied upon to take the place of an actual attentive driver. This is not only true of Tesla Autopilot but all current systems. You should always be alert and engaged and follow the automaker’s guidelines when using the technology.

With that being said, there are plenty of times that Tesla Autopilot and other similar safety systems have succeeded in saving a driver from an accident, we just don’t hear about these that often. How often do we hear that a seatbelt saved a life? Not often. While it surely happens on a constant basis, it’s not very newsworthy. However, if a seatbelt resulted in a death — which has been the case on more rare occasions — it would receive more media coverage.

This particular set of videos is compelling due to the fact that the Tesla Model 3 driver has captured dashcam footage of the event and a crash animation studio has taken the footage and produced an animation, complete with analysis. While this animation and analysis were not produced by one of the major government or insurance agencies that issue crash test ratings, it’s still interesting to watch.

Video Description via Tesla Canuck on YouTube:

I was driving home today when some dumbass came out of nowhere and tried to run me off the road. See real dashcam footage of Tesla Autopilot taking evasive action and probably saving my life.

Crash Animation Studios was kind enough to create this amazing animation of the crash avoidance with a detailed technical analysis. I highly recommend viewing this analysis from Crash Animation Studios.

Check out the crash animation and detailed technical analysis below (additionally, you all should check out the Crash Animation Studios’ website here):


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36 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Autopilot Saved This Owner: Tech Analysis Included"

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“Probably saving my life”
Quite the sensational claim if I do say so myself. “Probably helped avoid an accident” is more like it.

At most. To me it looks like the evasive action was take just too late to actually make a difference. Even if not, the speed differential was less than 30 km/h and it would have been the side of the Yaris lightly brushing the front left corner of the Model 3.

A scary incident, and had the Yaris followed a slightly different path it might have been a shunt. Which could have lead to loss of control and maybe slamming into a barrier at a hundred kilometres an hour. But whether or not AP would have made a difference in that case is anyone’s guess.

I do think this kind of tech is useful, but to say AP saved his life as this dude does is hyperbolic.


Well Elon Runs Tesla – and SpaceX, and SpaceX Does use Hypergolic (Self Igniting when Mixed) Fuels!

So … Hypergolic … Hyperbolic…Whatever!

A little sensational, but it’s common to lose the front end if you get clipped like that. Not so good when nearing an underpass.

This is side collision warning/avoidance system which is standard on all Teslas, btw. You don’t have to buy Autopilot to get it.

In the old days before DSC that likely would have involved the vehicle where the Tesla was located losing control exiting the road, over correcting and rolling over. Say for example the Tesla was a 90s Ford explorer instead.

He said probably, not definitely. I would tend to agree. I think it’s safe to say that it would have been a serious accident at that speed. If steering was compromised, any of those 3 vehicles could have spun out of control causing serious injuries or death. I’ve actually seen this exact sort of thing happen on the freeway in front of me and I was lucky to avoid crashing into the aftermath. And while none of those people were killed, several vehicles were totaled and everyone went to the hospital with injuries.

He first said “literally” at the very start of the video. Then he said “probably” about 40 seconds later.

“Literally” and “probably” do not conflict in any way.

In my book “literally” means it’s a sure thing. Not the case with “probably”. I don’t think I’m wrong but to be fair English is not my native language.

No, “literally” just means there is no hyperbole or other metaphor involved. You can mean something literally without being sure about it. “I think I could literally have died” is a perfectly valid statement.

I was just narrating the facts. I don’t really think the autopilot or other system really saved is life. But it almost certainly avoided a big accident.

It looks like you increased your speed after the grey car initially passed you on the left, closing the gap that the speeder had to maneuver through. Did auto pilot do that, did you, or did the grey car slow down? The speeding car was definitely out of line. Good that there was no accident and everyone was OK.

He says he had Autopilot set for 102 kph. It looks to me like the grey car slowed.

Looking closely at the video you can tell the Tesla’s front lifts as it accelerates.

The road isn’t perfectly flat.

How nice to see an article about Autopilot preventing a serious accident, instead of a report jumping to the conclusion that Autopilot caused one before the evidence is in!

“…the media gravitates toward the concerns and issues rather than the positives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since we want drivers to make better choices with regards to the technology.”

Well, it’s good (i.e., “isn’t necessarily a bad thing”) that people are reminded that driver assist features are not true self-driving features, and that drivers need to remain alert and ready to override the driver assist feature when needed.

But it is a bad thing if the media’s concentration on negative, frightening things causes people not to use driver assist features, like Tesla Autopilot and AutoSteer, which have been statistically shown to reduce the rate of serious accidents quite dramatically.

It’s like air bags. Have a few dozen of them malfunctioned and injured or killed people? Yes. Does that mean we should all shut them off? No! You’re still far safer using them than not.

Tesla Autopilot + AutoSteer is the same, so long as the use is restricted to the proper type of roads; those with clear lane markings, and no sharp curves.

With Airbags, for Collisions, a Full Face Helmet helps to keep your face in a Good condition when it goes off too, but not many people wear those in cars! (Edit – I have seen what an Airbag Face Looks like! Boxers never get hit that hard!)

This was not Autopilot preventing the accident, but the advanced safety features which are enabled in all cars, even if you did not buy autopilot (autosteer).

The Tesla driver seems to pull an aggressive maneuver to close the gap and prevent the Yaris from passing on the right.

+Cypress, with respect, this drives me bonkers. Cover the silver car while watching and you will see using the lane markings that there is no change in my Tesla’s speed. Do the math on the lane markings. Also, the M3 can go from 100 kph to 125 kph in about a second. I guarantee you that if I saw this guy coming and wanted to close the gap, I could have been in front of the silver car before the black Yaris enters the frame. The truth of the matter (watch from about minute 6:00 of the extended video) is that incident happens just after a big curvature in the road. I did not see the guy coming, I did not try to prevent him from passing. In the end those who think that I accelerated or that AP accelerated will believe what they want to believe, and that is fine. The math does not support that argument.

Carefully observe how Model3’s front lifts the moment the gap closes. That means that the Model3 accelerated.

The road isn’t perfectly flat.

+AndY1, Some people seem to be focused on ignoring the clearly reckless driver in the black Yaris and debate whether or not I accelerated for what would amount to 0:00.2-0:00.4 seconds to cut a guy off that was already cut off. Not sure that is even humanly possible based on what science says about human reaction time. It’s crazy that a small handful of others are focused on supporting a driver that passes by cutting through sideways at a +/- 30 kph speed differential. I guess speed demons stick together like a cult.

My understanding is that Tesla vehicles all have side collision avoidance even if not equipped with Autopilot. So it wasn’t AP that avoided the accident, but the standard side avoidance collision system.

I don’t think this is correct. I think side collision warning/avoidance was part of the upgrade to Autopilot.

For example, I find this from a Nov. 2015 Tesla PR:

“Features coming soon include Forward and Side Collision Warning and Avoidance, Blind Spot Warning, and Automatic Emergency Braking.”

So obviously at that time, Tesla cars didn’t have side collision warning/avoidance. Later references to that tech also mention Autopilot.


And anyway, even if that was originally not part of Autopilot, Tesla would certainly consider it part of its Autopilot suite now. Since this car is a Model 3, it definitely has Autopilot. Let us please remember that Autopilot can’t be shut off, altho certain features within Autopilot, such as AutoSteer, can be.

You’re splitting hairs. The side collision system comes standard on every new Tesla. You get it whether you buy EAP or not.

Now, what would happen if there were construction worker on the right? Would the Tesla do this maneuver and run over him or wouldn’t do it on the first place, so car crash woud happen, but worker would survive? =)

Construction worker should be ok if he’s moving with traffic 🙂

I would follow the vehicle, called the cops and beat his a***

Obviously, this technologies save lifes. I had read about Subaru, that the cars with its Ehesight tech, suffered much less accidents that those Subaru cars that not were equiped with this feature. The problem is when some people doesn’t use this in right form. People sleeping, reading, watching dvd’s, playing with their phone…. this systems are Level 2 or 3 of autonomy in the best cars, so they doesn’t allow to avoid the human surveillance.

Trollish bait.

Trolling for comments? 🙄

I didn’t see the Tesla take “evasive” action until I saw the tail light of the grey car. this would mean the grey car already got ahead of the Tesla.

I find the video 100% unreliable because it only calculated the simulation with cars at constant speeds, and only while the silver car is ahead of the Tesla. At no time did the video ever show the silver car behind the Tesla or to show the creation or increase/decrease of the gap that the grey car squeezed through.

Finally, since the driver operates a “pro-Tesla” website, I can only imagine it’s a biased view, and to say it say it probably saved his life is also an exaggeration.

I think autopilot system didn’t “avoid” anything. It took actions after the car got into his lane and then got out of the way after the car is already in the lane. Watch the video at 1:43 mark, then at 1:44, the tail light of the Yaris is already in view and the Tesla is still square in the lanes. Then the Tesla took “evasive” action to avoid it after the tail light is already in plain sight. This basically shows 3 things: 1. Yaris or Toyota driver is an reckless idiot. I have a “Bad Toyota Driver Radar” and I always watch out for them. So, situation like this wouldn’t happen to me with or without autopilot… 2. The Chevy Spark is a left lane “hogger”. It needs to move over (regardless of speed) 3. When I drive, I usually monitor the road situation like this. If there are aggressive drivers around me who looks like they try to pass, I would slow down to leave enough gaps so others can pass even I don’t feel their actions are justify. No need to have road rage. A “good” driver would have been able to “see this coming”. But Autopilot… Read more »

All I can say is that the way your driving or rather, the way you’re letting Autopilot drive, you will *need* that dashcam and good insurance coverage.

What the guy in the darker car did was blatantly wrong, but it should serve, literally, as a wakeup call for the both of you (Yaris driver, Model 3 driver) as it seems you were both oblivious to your surroundings.

The autopilot might have saved you, but I hope you learned something from this near collision.