Tesla could include cross-traffic alerts for drivers who are backing up their vehicles, according to CEO Elon Musk in a recent post on Twitter. Musk’s update was a response to a request from the @TeslaOwnersEBay group.
Cross-traffic warnings and alerts when backing a car up are used widely among many vehicles manufactured today. Hyundai is just one of the companies that utilize the feature to help lower the possibility of a collision while backing out of parking spaces, which could have low visibility because of other cars or objects being in the way.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 22, 2020
Hyundai vehicles use rear-facing sensors to detect oncoming vehicles, something that Tesla’s cars do not utilize to date. However, the electric automaker’s sustainable cars are equipped with eight cameras that are placed at strategic points to assist in Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capabilities, along with a rear-backup camera. These cameras also capture Sentry Mode clips for owners who utilize the security feature.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 20% of all automotive accidents occur in parking lots. This statistic enticed the agency to perform a study on the benefits of parking assistance features. According to the survey, 71% of the 640 crashes that occurred during the investigation involved “backing into a moving vehicle.” About 5% of all the crashes that occurred resulted in injuries.
The study ultimately found that backup assistance systems were ideal for preventing accidents that involve cars traveling in reverse. “Rear cross-traffic alert is a good complement to rearview cameras,” Jessica Cicchino, the author of the study, said. “These technologies should help drivers feel more confident when backing up, especially when their view is obstructed by taller vehicles or garage pillars.”
Tesla has made strides to improve the backup camera used in its vehicles.
In 2018, Tesla upgraded the picture quality of the Model 3 backup camera through a software update. The improvement in camera sharpness and definition helped drivers get a clearer view of their surroundings. However, the wide-angle lens that Tesla has continued to use on its vehicles does not alert of blind spots when backing a car up. Recent software updates have included access to the side cameras for better guidance when reversing, but cross-traffic warnings would make this system even better.
Five years ago, the NHTSA indicated that 188,000 passenger vehicles were involved in crashes from vehicles traveling in reverse. This striking figure may have influenced more automakers to add safety features that would eliminate many of these instances from occurring. Considering Tesla’s focus on safety, Elon Musk’s acknowledgement of cross-traffic warnings is quite unsurprising.