There’s good reason why Tesla Autopilot continues to improve over time. The Model S and Model X is equipped with a forward-looking camera that’s capable of identifying lane markers and road curvatures, a radar used for detecting cars and moving objects, and ultrasonic sensors that act as a virtual force field by sensing items within the surrounding proximity of the car. Together these make up the suite of Autopilot features (currently still in BETA) that allows the vehicle to drive and steer on its own, change lanes, adjust speed in response to traffic, but also react to dangerous driving situations through automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance. But how does that fare when the subject is a human?
Tesla owner and YouTube personality KmanAuto put his Model S through three individual Autopilot tests with each test involving a person standing before a moving Model S. That person? Tesla fan Mike Anthony.
While we certainly don’t endorse this type of stunt nor do the makers of the video, it’s nonetheless fascinating to see how Autopilot reacts to the brave soul who purposely walked in front of a two ton vehicle traveling at 18 mph. The three tests were as follows:
Test 1 – Summon vs Human
- Stand directly in front and center to a Model S being summoned
- Stand in front of the driver
- Stand slightly to the corner
- Walk in front a Model S being summoned
Test 2 – TACC Collision Avoidance vs Human
- Walk in front of a Model S traveling 18 mph
Test 3 – Autopilot Collision Avoidance vs Human
- Walk in front of a Model S that is being driven solely on Autopilot
KmanAuto noted that the Model S was able to come to a halt when it detected an obstacle, in this case Mike Anthony, was in its path while being summoned. The vehicle would also make attempts to navigate around an obstacle if it’s offset to the side. In the case of Test 2 and Test 3, the Model S traveling at 18 mph did not automatically apply brakes when it detected Mike in its path. Rather, an audible alert is heard from within the car warning the driver of a potential collision.
“for some reason [Automatic Emergency Braking] did not happen today with TACC or Autopilot on the main road. I am curious as to why and will be following up with Tesla”
Perhaps better human detection along with full autonomous driving capabilities will make its way into Autopilot 2.0?