Back in September, Tesla pushed the v8.0 software update to its fleet of vehicles and it enabled some significant updates to the vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware. A series of new tests show that the pedestrian detection under v8.0 is significantly better and now Tesla even renders humans in front of the car on the instrument cluster.
When Tesla first introduced the renderings around the car on the instrument cluster, it only displayed cars and later, the automaker added trucks and motorcycles. Now Tesla drivers with Autopilot can also see humans (as pictured above).
You might remember back in June when we reported on pedestrian detection tests by a Model S owner and Youtuber named ‘Kman’ who recruited one of his crazy friends to literally stand in front of the moving 5,000 lbs car to test its detection capability (something we don’t recommend obviously).
The duo is now back to conduct the same tests with v8.0 of Tesla’s software and the results are night and day.
During the first round of tests, the Model S’ Forward Collision Warning would often activate, but not the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). At the time, Tesla sent us a statement to explain that AEB was designed to apply the brake at the ‘last possible moment to avoid or mitigate a collision”:
“Model S and Model X are equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which is designed to engage the brakes at the last possible moment to avoid or mitigate a collision. AEB does not engage when an alternative collision avoidance strategy (e.g., driver steering) remains viable. Instead, when a collision threat is detected, forward collision warning alerts the driver to encourage them to take appropriate evasive action. AEB is a fallback safety feature that operates by design only at high levels of severity and should not be tested with live subjects.”
As you can see in the video below, under v8.0 the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) doesn’t even need to engage on most occasions because the Autopilot itself detects the pedestrian from a greater distance to slow down and stop:
On other closer occasions, the Forward Collision Warning and AEB do engage and seem to work properly. All around significant improvements from the previous tests and interesting video from Kman, but please guys be careful.
What’s important to keep in mind here is that the tests were performed on v8.0 with a Model S equipped with first generation Autopilot hardware. It will be interesting to see how the same technology will perform on the second generation Autopilot hardware now in production.