Accidents involving Tesla vehicles on Autopilot often get reported in the media, but we don’t hear a lot about the accidents that didn’t happen because of Autopilot since it’s not as exciting when virtually nothing happened – though it’s arguably just as important.
Now we have a good example with a Tesla Model 3 on Autopilot avoiding a crash in near-miss caught on a dashcam.
Tesla’s Autopilot technology comes with a suite of crash avoidance features including side collision avoidance, which can alert the driver of a collision risk and even brake and steer away from a crash if it believes it to be safe to do so.
That’s exactly what a Model 3 owner believes happened in a near-miss caught on camera.
He wrote on Youtube:
“Close call while cruising on the highway along with traffic when an idiot who was speeding and cutting everyone off almost sideswiped us with kid inside. Autopilot was engaged and started to brake and moved us to the right lane to avoid a collision. I guess it detected no vehicles on the right of us and I took over and powered out to steer us back into the original lane in front of that idiot. Be safe out there and always be alert even with Autopilot engaged and watch out for idiot drivers.”
Here’s the dashcam video of the near-miss (Youtube TeslaExposed):
The driver added that he took control of the steering when you hear the horn and then controlled the Model 3 as it went back into the lane.
The near miss is reminiscent of another incident back in April of 2016. 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.
As the Model 3 owner said, it is still important to always be alert on Autopilot because, under the current version of the autonomous driver assist system, it still not perfect and can miss some of those situations.
Drivers are still responsible for their vehicles and they should always treat Autopilot as a driver assist system and not a fully autonomous driving system, even with an impressive performance like displayed in this video.