MYTH BUSTER: No, Tesla Autopilot Didn’t ‘Predict a Crash’

Tesla’s auto-driving system “miracle” video has taken over the internet by the storm. The video uploaded by a Dutch Tesla driver showed the car stopping short of an accident between two cars ahead and has put the entire internet in a frenzy on how the system “predicted the crash.”

But is the “psychic” prediction really something out of the ordinary?  We certainly don’t think so, and here’s why:

Everyone claims that the Tesla managed to detect the crash by sending radar signals underneath the car ahead, thus managed to apply the brakes in time, all on its own.

But is that what really happened? We think that this is just one of those cases where people, who are desperate for this technology to become a success, are trying too hard to give Tesla undue credit. The fact is, an alert human could have probably done a better job!

It can be clearly seen in the video that the car gave a two-second mark beep to the driver, and only when the driver didn’t respond, Tesla’s autobraking kicked in after the five-second mark. The “miracle” can be credited for being lifesaving, but in no way it was anything out of the ordinary or magical, as the car stops just one second before impact which could actually result in being more of a traffic hazard.

Also, the car in the right lane is also seen to have started braking at the same time or even slightly earlier than the Tesla did, with apparently no self-driving capability at all. So, the Tesla did nothing a human driver couldn’t have done.

In conclusion, yes the Autopilot did avoid a crash here. But only after it ‘reacted’ to the driver’s lackluster response, rather than heroically predicting the crash as everyone claims!

It was just an example of a driver relying too heavily on the self driving system. While this technology is the best thing that has happened to the automotive industry, one must remember that the key to safe driving is still being attentive on the road rather than pinning your hopes on a radar to save you.

Credits: transportation.org

The pie chart above provided by Transportation.org shows drivers’ condition at the time of a car crash, which clearly illustrates that inattentive driving takes the larger chunk of blame for most of the accidents. This rubber stamps our point that Tesla’s autonomous driving feature might be good for many things, but it still cannot be hailed as a substitute for an attentive and alert driver.

There’s no conclusive proof or data to support the claim that Tesla’s self-driving feature would make streets by any means safer than they’re today. Actually, there is no data to prove that Teslas are not worsening the overall accident statistics (if narrowed down to the same car category, same class of roads, etc.) And until we have that sort of statistics, we cannot start jumping on the bandwagon of self-driving car’s appraisal.

What are your views on this technology? Comment below!

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