Tesla Model S Collision Avoidance Systems Test: The Good And Not So Good – Video


The Tesla Model S comes equipped with tons of safety features. From airbags to more sophisticated collision avoidance components. We decided to put 2 of them to the test:

Tesla Auto Pilot Test - Collosion

Tesla Auto Pilot Test – Collision Avoidance

Test 1: Model S in Auto Pilot on the highway and a vehicle to the right suddenly changes lanes by getting in front of the Model S; and to add more complexity to the equation, slams on the brakes for a sudden deceleration. Would the Model S recognize this sudden change and react fast enough to decelerate and safely increase the distance with this crazy driver?

The answer is YES! We conducted a number of runs and each time Model S recognized the vehicle and stopped. Good job on this Tesla!

Tesla Model S Blind Spot Detection Test

Tesla Model S Blind Spot Detection Test

Test 2: While driving the car on a 1,700 mile trip, I noticed when changing lanes the blind spot detection was not something I was used to.

Many OEMs either add lights to the side mirrors and/or even add an audible signal to help the driver better know of potential danger in the blind spot. This test was very simple: The Model S would change lanes with the turning light indicator ON, while another vehicle would be in the blind spot. What will the Model S do? Provide a visual or audible signal, or perhaps even take over control?

Unfortunately the result was only a visual signal, and it is located on the instrument panel. Meaning when you change lanes and you are looking at the mirror and not the dash, you will miss the clues from the Model S.

In our test we only managed to get to the yellow quarter circle (there is a red warning too) but the car did not give us an Audible Signal, or any other indicator of danger. And we believe this is an issue which can easily be improved, and should be addressed by Tesla Motors. Of course they are not going to add warning lights to the mirror, but a software update with an audible warning would be very much welcomed.

Tesla did provide a reply below, and we look forward to seeing an update soon.

Tesla Blind Spot Warning - This Is What You Get

Tesla Blind Spot Warning – This Is What You Get

Please note Test number 2 was performed without the use of Auto Pilot. When changing lanes in Auto Pilot, Model S does recognize vehicles in the blind spot and will either abort or not perform a lane.

From Tesla:

Thank you for contacting Tesla Technical Support with your suggestion about more active blind spot alerts.  I can confirm with current design, the radiating lines, white, yellow, and red, are the blind spot monitoring built into the vehicle.  We appreciate your feedback, and will forward it to our Feature Request team for consideration in future updates.  We cannot promise that this feature will be available, but our team reviews every customer request seriously.


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29 Comments on "Tesla Model S Collision Avoidance Systems Test: The Good And Not So Good – Video"

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What happens if the driver lightly taps on the brakes? Does collision avoidance turn off, or does it still function? No kids, don’t do this test in highway!

According to Tesla Release Notes 6.2, the emergency braking system is over-ridden by applying the brakes, accelerator or hard steering. In other words, no Tesla safety system overrides driver control.

Lots of folks here agree that frontal emergency collision avoidance should stay ON at all times, if the car has this feature. I agree.

And that’s the way it should work, crashing it even if you want to shouldn’t be an option.

Tesla is great, but still has some things to learn (naturally considering the short time they’ve existed) especially in active safety.

In Subarus and Toyotas when you apply the brakes but not hard enough to prevent a collision, the system takes over an applies hard braking.

Fabian said:

“Lots of folks here agree that frontal emergency collision avoidance should stay ON at all times, if the car has this feature.”

Well, “Lots of folks” don’t understand that there are plenty of situations in which leaving the collision avoidance system active would create so many frequent false positives that the driver would soon shut the system off in annoyance.

Situations like driving on a street with two-way traffic, or in a parking lot where cars approach each other very closely at low speeds.

It might be good to put OLED lights in the side mirrors for additional information. Or if they get the law passed to remove those, they can add whatever info they want to a screen displaying a camera view.

Most importantly, this is all part of an ongoing process.

How many years did it take auto makers to put in lap belts, and how many more to get a 3rd point shoulder harness added? Will cars ever use 4 point safety belts?

**This was not done by a professional driver on a non-closed course**

Seriously, don’t do this on the highway with people around. going 60->45 in the middle of a highway is a awful idea. (see 50s in when someone just gets into the left lane before they do this stupid stunt)

Looks like they took precautions and did it when there was the least amount of traffic.

Took precautions?? They almost caused a car wreck!

Its never acceptable to do these kinds of tests on public roads with people who have no idea what you’re doing around.

The road was basically empty and no we did not almost cause the crash. We took every precaution performing tests. Take your anger somewhere else.

Yes, there are better places for this. Abandoned airports for example. The Alameda air force base comes immediately to mind.

and by the way what you call a stunt 60->45 is constantly performed on the highway by miserable jerks like you.

If you had conducted this test where you should have, which means on a closed course, then you wouldn’t have any reason to get defensive and upset at the entirely justified criticisms aimed at you for pulling this illegal and dangerous stunt on a public road.

I really think InsideEVs shouldn’t be encouraging such dangerous and illegal activities by posting articles about them.

If you set your mirrors properly, there are no blind spots in vehicles for other vehicles.

Depends on the car. If you have a wide c-pillar, you’ll have blind spots

Like motorbikes you mean?

Bikes tend to be small enough to fit into anyone’s blind spot. That’s why you check.

Irresponsible to do this kind of testing on public roads.

Collision avoidance systems in automobiles driven on public roads aren’t merely a work in progress; they’re in the early stages of development.

I’m sure you can find all sorts of limitations on their operation at this stage. Hopefully their ability will improve rapidly over the next few years, and I don’t mean just the ones in Tesla cars.

Blind spot monitoring in Teslas may just as well not exist. The implementation is just that poor.

As luck would have it, I am able to test your hypothesis as I have an early Tesla. After careful testing, I can assure you that the present implementation of blind spot monitoring is WAY better than nothing. I thought you’d like to know.

Poor Four Electrics, he’s having one of his frequent outbursts of TES*.

Just ignore him.

*Tesla Envy Syndrome

“Tesla envy happens when other people have, ahem, long positions and yours is too short.” — Jim Whitehead

Poor Pushmi-Pullyu, he’s having one of his frequent outbursts of Self-importance.

Just ignore him (readers since the Lensmen days almost Have to).

scrolling, scrolling.. over the desolate main..

I’m really surprised to hear that. I have been very satisfied with the blind spot monitoring in my gen2 Volt, and it’s very useful (as the rear visibility in both years is pretty humble). I would expect Tesla have a superior system.

An audible warning that came from the internal speaker closest to the potential external point of contact might be the kind of innovation that would tempt the company to upgrade the current ineffective warning.

The blind spot detection system in Model S is relatively poor. Instead of the radar employed by other OEMs, it uses ultrasonic sensors that cannot “see” as far down the road as radar.

The system in GM vehicles, for example, can detect fast approaching cars from 200+ feet away. I noticed this while queing behind a Tahoe, waiting to get onto a freeway off-ramp, and cars to the left were flying past.

I may be missing something but if my car started beeping every time a car went past I would be turning that feature off PDQ. If the indicator was on than that’s an entirely different matter and probably worth implementing.