While news outlets are quick to jump on the opportunity to report on accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot system, the Autopilot helping prevent accidents is actually a more common occurrence and it doesn’t get nearly as much attention.
Of course, there’s no wreckage to grab the eye and therefore, it rarely reaches the media’s standard of sensationalism, but it helps when it is caught on a dashcam. After a near miss on the highway today in California, a Tesla Model S owner credited the Autopilot in helping avoid an accident.
Tesla’s vehicles equipped with the Autopilot sensor suite feature blind spot and side collision warnings/avoidance.
In the dashcam footage seen below, the Model S (2016 Tesla Model S 60 to be precise) was in the middle lane and in the blind spot of a car on the left lane. The car on the left then proceeded to merge in the Tesla’s lane without seemingly looking in the blind spot.
Tesla’s side collision warnings sent out an alert and admittedly since the Tesla driver reacted quickly to the warning, he doesn’t know if the side collision avoidance system steered the vehicle away from the otherwise inevitable collision or if it was his own doing. He wrote:
“I’m still in shock about this, so I can’t remember if I steered right, or Model S helped me steer the wheel. I only remember there is a chime warning sound and I immediately take the control and try to avoid the collision.”
Here’s the footage from his Youtube channel:
Either way, if the side collision avoidance didn’t prevent the accident, the side collision warnings certainly did help and they are both powered by the Tesla Autopilot.
The near miss is reminiscent of another incident back in April. A Tesla Model S narrowly avoided a side collision when a boom-lift truck merged in the right lane without looking. The whole thing was also caught on camera and the driver, Joshua Brown, the same Tesla owner who died in a car crash on Autopilot a month later, credited the system for saving him.
Since the sound of the dashcam is off on the footage from today’s near miss, here’s another close call and you can clearly hear the warning in the video: