Video footage taken from the dash cam of a Tesla Model X on Tuesday, December 27, shows the vehicle’s autopilot predicting and avoiding a car accident.
Frank van Hoesel was traveling on a highway in the Netherlands when the Tesla’s Autopilot collision warning sounded.
Tesla’s self-driving system sounded the alarm before van Hoesel saw what was about to happen on the road ahead; the car obscured by the vehicle directly ahead of the Tesla appeared to brake sharply, causing a collision. The Tesla’s warning and automatic brake prevented the electric vehicle from becoming involved.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously touted the safety credentials of the cars, claiming the self-driving capabilities are “at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver.”
A blogpost from September described how a software update would upgrade Tesla’s autopilot to create a better picture of the world around it using the onboard radar.
The radar was originally introduced to Tesla vehicles in October 2014 as a supplementary sensor to the existing camera and image processing system. Tesla decided the technology was good enough to act as a primary sensor, without the need for the camera to confirm visual image recognition.
“Radar sees through most visual obscuration…[meaning] the car should almost always hit the brakes correctly even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions,” the post stated.
“Taking this one step further, a Tesla will also be able to bounce the radar signal under a vehicle in front…and still brake even when trailing a car that is opaque to both vision and radar” the post continued.