[Podcast] Upcoming SpaceX launch, China + clean energy and Wallabies

Show description:

In other news, whilst we may be anxious about the plans for Trumps energy plan – China just made a big statement, saying they are set to invest 174 Billion in clean energy in the next four years. The guys make plans to go to the next Space X launch from Vandenburg. Oh, and we reveal the very real danger that Australians face – wallabies on the road!

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Tesla P85D owner Bruce McMillan forwarded to us the following email, sent to Talking Tesla podcast, which describes his near-miss encounter with an Australian wallaby while driving on Autopilot. A dashcam video has also been provided.

On a recent trip to my daughters (Nov 27th), while listening to your podcast Episode 61, I had an incident with a wallaby running in front of my Tesla.
You can hear your podcast in the background if you view my dash cam video clip. (Because the clip is very short you may not recognise your voice, Mal.)

On a stretch of road in the Western District of Victoria (Australia), I decided to reduce my speed from the allowable 100km/hr and set TACC to 80km/hr because of the potential of coming in contact with a kangaroo. I also engaged Auto pilot.
You can see the wallaby, from a standing start on the other side of the road, jump across in front of my Tesla.

[I have the Level 1 Auto pilot with software on my P85D purchased 30/09/2015]

At the time of the incident, I braked when I saw the wallaby start its run across the road, however I also had the sensation of the brakes being applied by the Tesla itself as the brake pedal felt like it was being depressed further than I was pressing the pedal myself. (Hope you get my meaning). I didn’t notice the pulsing of ABS but that may have been because my foot is in plaster!

Reviewing the video, the braking does not appear anywhere near as urgent as it felt to me at the time, which is quite weird. Does the sound of the disengaging of auto pilot depict when the brakes were applied?

On a related matter, and a possible corner case for auto pilot.
I felt that traveling at 80km/hr was appropriate on this road even though it is a posted 100km/hr stretch of road; however it did display the hazard sign for kangaroo, but no associated speed restriction.
How would or should auto pilot treat that situation?

I thought a reduced speed gave a much better chance of avoided damage to the car and injury to the animal as 80km/hr gave a better chance of braking/avoidance success.
What happens if the animal is hit/wounded and there is no-one in the car?

About 18 months ago I hit a wallaby with my ‘Holden (Chevy) Volt’ about 200km further along the road. This time the wallaby came from the near side and I hit it with resultant dents to the car.
I could not find the animal, I assumed it was able to continue somehow….

Again, so enjoy the interaction between yourselves and the information you provide and questions you pose.

Cheers from Downunder.
Kindest Regards,
Bruce McMillan
Portland, Victoria, Australia.

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