A recently surfaced dashcam video appears to show a Tesla in Autopilot mode alerting a driver to an upcoming crash moments before it actually happened. According to Twitter user Hans Noordsij, the Tesla used its radar to see “ahead” of the car in front of it, and predict that it was about to collide with another vehicle. In the video, viewers can hear the vehicle’s collision warning system activate as the car’s emergency breaks activate automatically.
— Hans Noordsij (@HansNoordsij) December 27, 2016
So far, Tesla hasn’t commented on the authenticity of the video, so it’s difficult to say if the incredible footage depicts exactly what the original poster claims. Some critics are already claiming that the car did nothing to “predict” a crash that an observant human driver couldn’t do better, pointing out that the incoming collision would have been obvious with or without the Autopilot system. However, even if a driver could predict and react to the oncoming accident as quickly as the vehicle’s AI, the fact that a car is able to see and respond with speed similar to a human is still impressive.
While the video may be impressive, it’s important to remember that Autopilot it not without its flaws. Back in July, Tesla Motors disclosed that one inattentive Model S driver had been killed when the Autopilot system mistook the bright white side of a truck for the sky and caused the car to collide with an 18-wheeler on the highway.
Although Tesla has announced plans to build autonomous capabilities into all new cars produced going forward, drivers should still remain alert at all times and ready to take control of the vehicle if they sense something wrong.
Images via Hans Noordsij/Screen capture