Lots of talks are currently going on regarding autonomy in the field of automobiles. There are some self-driving cars in the testing phase currently. Waymo, the American company, started a self-driving taxi service in October. Tesla also launched a new Full Self-Driving (FSD) suite late in October. The initial reactions to that were very impressive. Now, obviously, the initial tests of the new technology came from enthusiastic people who wanted to try it out. But now, we are also getting reports of the Autopilot mode actually saving vehicles from being involved in accidents.
Tesla Autopilot Mode Helps To Avoid Collision on Highway in Taiwan
What Actually Happened
A Tesla Model 3 was driving on a highway in Taiwan. The driver had put his car on Autopilot, and it was cruising in the middle lane. It was about to overtake a car which was in the rightmost lane when suddenly, another vehicle swerved in front of it. The car, probably a Hyundai, was initially behind the car the Tesla was about to overtake. From there it quickly (and dangerously) shifted into the middle lane, and would have most probably crashed into the Tesla.
But the Autopilot in the Tesla, which was driving at a constant speed, quickly slowed down and moved into the left lane momentarily. After the Hyundai sped away through the middle lane, the Tesla returned to the middle lane. The Hyundai then slowed down due to traffic in the middle lane, and the Tesla followed suit. It slowed down sufficiently to give itself some room in this high-speed traffic.
Many experts, after watching the video, are wondering if a human in the place of Autopilot could have avoided this accident. It was quite a high-speed incident, and if you check the video, the reaction time of the Autopilot was quite low too. And even after turning the car enough to avoid a collision, the Autopilot sensed the reduction in speed by the Hyundai perfectly and altered its own speed.
Tesla has been using the Autopilot feature in its cars for a long time. The first version was launched in 2014 and contains one camera and less-powerful radar and ultrasonic sensors. Post-2016, all vehicles contain standard Autopilot hardware. The program is the base for Tesla’s integration of artificial intelligence (AI) with automobiles.
The Autopilot consists of 360° visibility with front, rear and side cameras. The forward-facing radar provides a long-range view of distant objects (up to 160 m). It also consists of 12 ultrasonic sensors which help detect nearby cars and objects. This helps to avoid collisions and assists during parking.
Tesla’s Autopilot is a powerful piece of technology. It has shown a lot of potential to use AI in vehicles in the future. In theory, one can easily navigate their car using Autopilot in and around the city without having to intervene. Of course, Tesla recommends you not to take your eyes off the road and hands off the steering. But on the basis of the Autopilot system, Tesla felt confident enough to build the new FSD suite. It is pieces of technology like this which will take the matter out of human hands when it comes to handling emergencies. And this is sure to reduce the number of accidents that are taking place. Yes, it will take some time, but this technology will definitely help in providing a safer future.